• Doug Tjapkes

Proud to be an American

Big Ben, who has resided behind bars for 47 years, shares his pride in his country: "As an individual whose lived his entire adult existence in an American prison, I understand, in a way that very few can appreciate, what it means to be an American citizen and to be grateful and proud of that fact. Where else but in an America prison could I have had the opportunity to earn two legitimate college degrees or be trained in various fields of vocations ranging from carpentry, computerized Braille transcription producer, and warehouse textile production foreman. I bring up these accomplishments not to boast or even compliment the system. It has, in exchange, profited handsomely from my labors. I merely point out that, but for being in a different time and place, things could have been tragically different -- and hopefully highlights the fragility of the fruits of our democracy. We should never take for granted our mutual dependence upon one another within the context of treating your neighbor as you yourself would want to be treated. The outright attempted insurrection of our Country's Government should serve as a valid wakeup call to all who consider themselves as citizens anchored in the democracy of 'The Land of the Free, and Home of the Brave.'"

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