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Ahh ‘Merica, I love you, I really do

Today Emma said to me, “Mom, sometimes I’m not so proud of America and we aren’t the best nation in the world, really.”

And I had to admit that I really thought she was right.

So I responded with, “You are right. We rank kinda low on the charts in education, and we’ve done some pretty bad things historically. But honestly, this is home, and I am so, so grateful for it.”

It reminded me of trips to Europe with my mom when I was a child. We would visit my grandparents in Germany. By the time our trip had finished, I was homesick. Landing on US soil always was so comforting to me. Other airports and customs lines seemed so, well, foreign, for lack of a better word.

When I see signs on the 4th of July that read, “Let Freedom Ring”, I feel like thumping some people over the head with what that means.

Freedom is not just something our military fights for overseas. Freedom isn’t just words outlined in the Constitution over 200 years ago. Freedom is action, respect and discourse despite our differences. Freedom is being allowed to be who you want to be and with who you want to be with.

Freedom is believing in God. Or not.

Freedom is choosing how you worship that God.

We don’t live in a perfect country. We live in an evolving country.

We have walked through dark times. We are still working through prejudice and injustice towards groups.

We have tried to govern who can marry who. Oh, and if you think I was talking about same-sex marriage, I was talking about  our country’s laws just a generation ago when several of the inter-racial marriages my cousins and friends are in, were illegal.

We had slavery for gosh sakes. Holy crap.We chained and sold humans like cattle.

Why am I so lucky to be born in this country a white, middle-class, straight woman? I have it pretty darn good. Like Chris Rock jokes, you don’t want to be a black man in a time machine. You’re pretty much screwed.

You know what phrase really irks me? When folks say, “if you don’t like it here, then move.” Just because I think something isn’t perfect or completely ideal, doesn’t mean I will pack up and ship out. I want to be part of change. Part of the movement that makes something for the better.

We have it so good here. We have iPhones, and Starbucks, and Amazon and Facebook. They can’t have Facebook in China.

I think if America starts thinking of what it can do better, what it can improve, than continue thinking it’s the best- we will actually become better.

When you see an athlete on the field and he scores a touchdown, and he says, “I’m the best!” you think, ‘damn, what an egotistical jerk.’ When you see a player on the field after he scores a touchdown and he says, “I’m grateful for my team.” you think, “I like that player. I’m rooting for him.”

Let’s be that second player. Let’s humble ourselves. Look to those that are better in the areas we are lacking. Ask why and try new things.

I am not proud of the fact that we have homeless veterans, our high poverty level and millions of hungry school children; our inequality (STILL!) in the workplace, I’m stunned by our high instances of sexual assault in our military.

So when we sing the Star Spangled Banner, when we blow crap up we bought from the Indian Reservations (oh good grief, another historical faux pas), when we chomp into that grass-feed all beef steak, (or our veggie burger if we choose to be vegetarian) remember what others feel their freedoms are and how they are enjoyed.

Because actual freedom is free to be who you want to be without the confines of what others think freedom is.

 

 

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Comments

  1. sandy tabick says:

    Hmmmm, Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, Let Freedom Ring…… you’re right, it isn’t perfect, it isn’t always right, but I love my homeland, I am free and I strive so others can be free and have ‘enough’ …. enough food, enough water, enough love, enough of all I have, as I have way more than ‘enough’ ….. you’re right ‘constantly evolving, constantly looking for answers, constantly hoping ‘change’ is for the better for all……
    Good article ….

  2. I adore you even more, Frugie! I hope this post gets to those who need to hear it.

  3. Cheryl S. says:

    Excellent blog. You took the words out of my mouth. Thank you!

  4. Really excellent post. I share many of your feelings and really appreciate knowing there are others who want to be part of positive change in this country, which is awesome in many ways and in other ways, needs a whole lot of work!

  5. Lovely post. Well-said. Thank you!

  6. word… It’s so nice to read posts like this. sanity!