You don’t have to be American to be awesome….

Now, you don’t have to be American to be awesome (or a total bastard)…but it sure helps!

I did the ice bucket challenge and donated to ALS http://www.alsa.org/about-als/what-is-als.html I am an American. I love red meat and dislike fish. I don’t go to church. I drink a little too much. I’m going to be honest, I feel a little bad about most of these things. Apart from being an American.

I also don’t feel bad about donating to ALS. Feeling rather ashamed about my bucket challenge (water wasting) enthusiasm, I did donate to The Water Project – http://thewaterproject.org/bucket-challenge-for-clean-water.

I can’t help but notice on social websites, folks who are doing the ice bucket challenge, and those who refuse in adamant disgust.

It’s taking off in the UK (they like to have a bit of fun too…well most of them). It is initially an American craze, an American charity and U.S. folk are known for being a little ‘over the top’ at times.

Granted, even some Americans have refused to do it on the grounds of not wanting to waste water. But what some folks (like the ones at the water project) have done is find an alternative. Alternatives can be both clever and awesome.

I’m not insanely irrationally patriotic. I wouldn’t dare defend every cultural craze, every foriegn policy decision, every bomb, every shady bit of history, every shot that the country I come from is responsible for. But that does not mean I don’t have a lot of love in my heart for the place.

I still would offer my respect to ANYONE who is willing to put themselves in harm’s way in order to protect those who are vulnerable. Hence my contribution to the Bellator and Reaching Out Anthologies (two short story collections one for The Wounded Warrior Project, one for the Red Cross).

I don’t LOVE it when the marketing crazy, commercial/advert saturated madness goes a little too far. But I’m a self-published writer…I have to freaking market a little!

I’ve been living abroad for a long time, and I’ve learned to just brush it off when certain people (usually those who have never spent any significant time in the US) go on about the evils/ignorance/general distastefulness of the US at me as though I am personally responsible for it all and I should be ashamed to come from the place. Whatever.

People are suffering right now as a direct result of wasteful practices and general greed. Even within supposedly ‘rich’ countries there are huge gaps between the haves and have nots.

Then there are the parts of this earth that contain such extreme suffering, it boggles the western, well fed mind that such conditions still even exist.

Then there are the things we don’t even know about. Things there isn’t a charity for. Words are words. No doubt any of us would fall to our knees at the sight of a child suffering, going without the things we take for granted every day.

Let’s be honest, most of us don’t see real, actual, proper suffering. We just see facebook and twitter posts, and we get a little annoyed about them….*sheepish look*.

Because ALL of us, no matter where we come from, should all be aware of our actions, how every little thing we do has an affect on someone, somewhere. From how we do the dishes/washing up, how we treat our bodies, to how we interact with other people face to face. We’re never going to be perfect, we’re never going to get it exactly right.

Still, we should put a smile on our face, and fill our hearts with love instead of hate and self-righteousness. We should look around at how even just our words can affect others, let alone our actions. The more barriers that go up, the more ‘us and them’ attitude people take, the less peaceful the world gets. And THAT is something I do not want to take part in.

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