Posted by: sailingspirit | May 8, 2011

I’m With Men in Bad Wigs and Tights

I’ve had plenty of anti-American culture sentiment lately, perhaps a part of or even possibly beyond what Dave Meyer called the “counter counter-culture.”  Not because at any time I’ve hated this land or even its people, but rather out of disappointment, frustration, even outrage at what this society has (largely) become.  A reaction to the ugly and violent way my idea of this country was quickly replaced by the reality of it, leaving an almost hopeless residue that it may never be so again.  A post-traumatic anger, so to speak, the angry stage of grieving.

Founding Fathers labor over the declaration of...

Last night I picked up my American Patriot’s Bible, and within the opening pages are some principles listed as founding to our collective ethic.  Some have clearly slipped, but in the spirit of being positive in this post, I will skip to the two that filled me with some patriotic pride once again.  In my opinion, they’re rather intertwined.

#1 The Dignity of Human Life, which we believe all persons have regardless of what land they live in, and the unalienable right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  And

#6 Common Decency, whereby “when faced with any trying or difficult situation, [people] will do the decent, right, and honest thing.”

Here’s the part that really got me today:  “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”  (From The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus, as on the Statue of Liberty plaque.)

Having been struggling lately with discrimination and across-the-board rejection, very largely because of where I was born, and not so much at a political level but a most personal one, this trumpeted off the page for me as if (and I mean no disrespect) Jesus had shouted these words from the Mount, not just some lady.  I was filled with a true sense of, “YEAH!!!  Exactly!  Does your country do that?  Huh?  Does it?  DOES IT????   We accept anybody, especially the ones who show up with nothing but the clothes on their backs and a dream in their hearts!  We’re a whole country of rejects and look how far we’ve come!  We’ve done pretty good for ourselves, for a bunch of rabble!  We’re not perfect but we won’t be forgotten!!!  We will not fade silently away like the stains you want us to be!  And when was the last time YOUR people left family and familiar and went far, far away to give their lives for the benefit of people they’ve never even met?  Huh?  Left dead in a ditch, never a proper burial, and said the cause was worth it?  Never!  So just what the hell do you think your people are so damned great for, anyway?  Huh?  SHOW ME!  And if you’re gonna continue to be such a hypocrite, then give back your cars and radios and TVs and computers and blue jeans and telephones and electricity and combines and teflon cookware and Tupperware and refrigerators and airplanes and movies and music videos and everything else that WE made and we SHARED with you to make your lives so cushy that you won’t get off your asses to help anybody else live a better life!!!  Give it all back and go back to the way you used to live on your own budding genius!”

Hell f_cking yeah, I’m an American.  I’m here praying for you, and my buddy is suiting up for the night shift to “find bad people and break their stuff” before they hurt anybody else.  So Go NAVY.  Go Red, White and Blue.  Go Nation of Underdogs.  Hoo-Ah!  We’re not perfect, but as long as we do these two things, I have a lot to be proud of.  And I wouldn’t be part of a nation that didn’t do these things.

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Responses

  1. For the 1-year follow-up of this post, see “Crooked Wigs and Slouching Tights”


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