This I Believe

andrea - smyrna, Georgia
Entered on May 30, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe there is a unique and exclusive link between the term Democracy and the United States of America. Democracy and the terms that drag with it such as equality, freedom and voice all are uniquely labeled and tied with America and the American entity. I, along with my mother and brother immigrated to the U.S in the mid 1990’s when I was beginning fourth grade. I went through multiple transformations and a number of adaptations, my perception of life was changing in front of me as I lived in what seemed like a different world. Jogging in the middle of the night was no longer a problem about safety, and eating whatever foods you craved was also becoming a reality. Presents during Christmas time were actually there, and true family gatherings where real. After living what seemed to be two different lives, one of abundant humility and happiness the other with more opportunities and more wealth I suddenly needed to return to my past and relive my roots. I returned to Venezuela the summer of 2003 where I would learn who I really was and what I was becoming and how fortunate my life had been. I suddenly spoke the universal language, understood the harsh reality of poverty overlooked each day by many in the streets of my neighborhood. The injustice I saw with my own eyes made me feel angry and with incredibly passion to make a change. I noticed and began to understand for the first time that “la democracia” as many called it in Venezuela was a mere 10 letter word that was used when it was of the government’s best advantage, politically correct as I would call it. The gaps between the rich and poor were expanding everyday, the rise in crime was overwhelming, and money for education was also a problem for many. Why did it have to be like this? Why were friends of my aunt’s able to fly to Miami and shop every summer while a 30 year old Turkish guy had to live on selling shoes on the street and small children have to be walking bare foot in the hot pavement of the road? This is precisely where “la democracia” becomes a lie and were the cruel actuality kicked in. While that summer I used all my advantages to help others, I suddenly realized that America was the closest group of ideals and core beliefs of genuine equality. Although a utopia is unrealistic America and American actions in the past decades (such as in Vietnam and Iraq) has added genuine appreciation to the terms “equality, freedom and hope” for the better of any society and for the growth of “any” country. The term democracy was approached from a religious standpoint during world war I by president Wilson and has since been attributed “American” and those that are “America like,” where Democracy became a representation of American core values and culture, not a mere political term in the White House. A democracy where a new kind of justice, a new kind a life and a new kind of freedom are all possible in the American land.