I’m tired of being told who I am.
I’m tired of being told what I think.
I am tired of being labeled.
I’m tired of being sidelined.
And I’m tired of being pushed to the brink.

The left says, if I don’t jump on the wagon and cheer and clap, then I hate the poor and sick and disadvantaged.

The right tells me, if I see the need for and desire for change, I am a God-hating communist.

If I oppose abortion I am labeled a misogynist.

If I support gay marriage I am wrecking the american family.

It does not matter what I believe and why.
It just matters that it’s not your party line.

To one side

I am a bigot and a racist.

To the other side

I am amoral and hate America.

You are all wrong and I’m tired of it.
You obviously don’t know me.
You obviously don’t understand who I am.

So let me enlighten you.

I’m a patriot and I’m a humanitarian.
I am a champion of civil rights and equality.
And I will defend the inalienable rights of individual dignity.

You try to point your gun and establish martial law
you better be ready to pull that trigger
because I will rise up and I will tear you down.

You try to bar the poor and the needy from the shores
of my country and you best believe
that you will have to fight me on those beaches.

Despite all indications, I believe that this country is great.

I believe that this country is great because
it is governed by its citizens and not an aristocracy.

I believe that this country is great because
its very governmental system encourages debate.

I believe this country is great because
we CAN disagree and still live in peace.

I believe that this country is great because
the rights of the individual are central to our existence.

I believe that this country is great because
we are, even so, not ruled by the individual.
We are ruled by the collective.

I believe that this country is great because
it is home to every culture yet belongs to none.

I believe that this country is great because
you can have nothing and still make something of yourself.

I believe that this country is great because the “American Dream” is real.
Here – in this country, on this soil – it is real.
Even if it is unfairly harder for some of our countrymen and women to attain.

I still believe that this country is great.

And I will not let you tell me otherwise.
Don’t tell me how bad it is – I know the problems.
I’m living them. The people I love are living them.
Listen to us when we tell you how to make it better.
Don’t try to frighten me with skeletons in governmental closets.
Rhetoric and invective will not sway me.
I can see the truth in the faces, lives, tears, and smiles around me.

Your paranoia only discredits you.
I will not follow hysteria.
I will not follow fear-mongering.
I will not follow manipulative, emotional appeals.

I will not follow you.
Because I am not a follower.

I am an independent.
I am non-partisan.
I have strong opinions.
I have political stances.
I have issues and causes that I am passionate about.
I will defend what I believe to my dying breath.
I am independent but I am not quiet and I am not apathetic.

Do not make the mistake of believing that I am.
Because it would be a mistake.

I am an American.
I am the epitome of the individual.
I am my own person with my own thoughts and ability to reason.
I am educated and I am very, very smart.

I will not toe a party line.
I will not meekly follow wherever you attempt to lead me.
I will not be led.

Instead, I will lead you.

I, the people, will show you where this country is going.
That is the way this country works.
Ignore me at your peril.
Hear me and hear America.

I am a centrist.
I am an independent.
I AM America.