1. Are you "proud to be an American?" Very. Especially after reading excerpts of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's opposing opinion in the "Hobby Lobby" decision. I love it that we can voice our dissent so freely.
2. Favorite Founding Father? Thomas Jefferson. "Religion is a matter which lies solely between Man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship …" As a Christian and an American, I'm a big fan of the separation of Church and State, and it's clear Jefferson was, too. A man of amazing intellect and a wonderful writer, too.
I believe President Kennedy agreed with me about Jefferson, too. I recall his toast the evening he hosted every living Nobel Prize winner: "This is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, ever at the White House -- with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."
4. Biggest "Patriotic Moment?" Every time I vote. I know that sounds corny, but it's true. It always feels very "big" to me.
5. Favorite patriotic song? "America, The Beautiful." Especially when we sign all the verses in church. There's one about the heroes who "more than self their country loved and mercy more than life." Gulp! That gets me every time.
6. Favorite American cuisine? Burgers
7. Happiest political moment of your life? Tuesday, November 4, 2008. Soldier Field. Standing with thousands of my fellow Chicagoans in Soldier Field watching our senator give his acceptance speech as the nation's first African American President. The crowd was so diverse, so peaceful, so proud. I remember Sen. McCain's succession speech was uncommonly gracious, too. A very important, very healing night. I wish everyone could have been there.
8. Best fireworks display you've ever seen? At Navy Pier, behind the ferris wheel, over Lake Michigan. Navy Pier is so crowded and touristy that sometimes I forget how splendid it can be.
9. America's gift to the world? Coca Cola. And I'm only being a little flippant. I do dearly love the stuff.
10. Favorite Bill of Rights right? I'm a big fan of the First Amendment. And again, even though I thought the Hobby Lobby ruling was dangerous, I think it completely rocks that the ladies of the court not only dissented but that Justice Ginsburg's opinion was published almost immediately. Dissent is a good, healthy thing in this country.
11. Favorite American Holiday? Thanksgiving, I suppose, because it's such a warm time with friends.
12. Favorite D.C. monument? The Lincoln Memorial. A breathtaking tribute to our greatest President.
13. Your dream for America's future? That we remember that we're supposed to love mercy and tolerance. So many of my fellow citizens are so quick to judge anyone who doesn't think exactly as they do, who doesn't worship exactly as they do, who doesn't love exactly as they do. It's OK, folks! Diversity is what makes us great!