In the mid-eighties I had a problem with a large federal government bureaucracy and it was severely limitiing the quality of my life.
With your permission, I'm not going to describe the problem or the federal entity involved because neither is important to the story, and I'd like to remain anonymous.
By that time I had completed a class in hypnosis and wanted to try out my persuasion skills. So I wrote a persuasive letter to my senator, Pete Wilson, and asked him to kick the ass of the offending federal entity.
A few weeks later I got a letter from the senator's staff showing me they had contacted the federal entity and asked for an explanation or some action. Within a few weeks, my problem was resolved, after several years of no action.
I got that done with one letter. And in so doing, I solved not only my own problem but that of literally millions of other Americans who were in the same boat.
That's the day I remember becoming American. I mean, I was born in America, and raised to respect the country, but patriotism always seemed like a duty. It didn't feel organic. But let me tell you, when you experience changing something important with one letter to your Senator, you become a true believer.
A few years later I was selected for jury duty. It isn't a fun experience, and I prefer getting out if it when I can, but I strongly recommend every American serves on a jury at least once. When you see how seriously twelve strangers take their assigned job of protecting the accused, and the community as well, it turns you into a patriot if you didn't start there.
The defendant in my first jury experience was guilty as hell. But the penalty did not fit the crime, in my opinion. So I hung the jury and saved his career. He doesn't know who saved him and never will. All he needs to know is that one American saw an injustice and fixed it without asking for anything in return.
That's America, and I'm all in.