I absolutely love America! I absolutely hate politics!
I love all my friends, regardless of what they believe, understanding that uniquely different perspectives enrich our lives and make it way more interesting than if we were all the same. I hate that differing beliefs are tearing our country apart as accusations and hateful barbs are immediately launched toward those who have a contrary opinion.
I love that we are a melting pot and our shores have always been a beacon of hope attracting those looking for a better life. I hate that each ethnicity and culture chooses to remain separate and become hyphenated-Americans instead of just good old plain Americans.
I love being able to practice my Faith in freedom and try desperately to be a Christ-follower (and mostly fall short). I hate that others in this county see my Faith as either simple-minded or something abhorrent and incendiary.
My most favorite place I’ve had the opportunity to visit is Scotland. They are a fiercely proud people….those Scots! You can’t help but notice as they boastfully (in a good way) tell you of their colorful history…from the street sweeper, to the kind lady simply resting in a museum, to those sitting next to you on a bus, and to the pub owner who pours you a pint. They enthusiastically proclaim their heritage with delight and embellishment. They have an illustrious and bloody past, but instead of denying it, trying to revise it, or even apologizing for it, they stand together and embrace it in their mutual love of their country. They know where they came from and it is important for them not to forget. They realize that who they are today is a result of that hot mess of their past. There were battles valiantly won and tragically lost. There were obstacles overcome and those stumbled over. They unashamedly parade their skeletons around.
In America we, too, have a flawed past, some of which boasts glory and other parts bear shame. Folks, that is not an indictment on America…it’s an indictment on humanity. What country doesn’t have its share of shameful annals? However our history is ours to acknowledge, learn from, and be better off because of, so that we are not doomed to repeat it. I wish I could call us a nation of fiercely proud people, but let’s face it, we’re SO not. We seem to be a fractured nation of angry birds with voluminous subsets pitted against one another. There are so many lines drawn in the sand that it looks like a veritable checkerboard. We find ourselves shaking our fist at each other over politics, religion, class, race, gender, borders, and now even bathrooms of all things. Good grief…..are we all toddlers again with our Freudian ID’s driving our every thought and behavior? Must we all have our own way or else? When my boys were very little and didn’t get their way, they would unthinkingly hurl the ME-centric comment of, You’re not my friend! Is this the adult version of that with the addition of scathing expletives and hate mongering?
Aren’t we on the same team? Shouldn’t we be pulling together for ONE Nation? If we are not FOR US, who is going to be? Certainly not those outside our borders who would love to see us flounder and fail and crumble. If you are old enough to remember the aftermath of 911, you may remember a scene in Congress where party lines fell down. The opposing parties stood united, hugged and held each other and sang, God Bless America. We were all Americans that day. Even in the midst of that horrific tragedy that defies understanding, seeing our leaders and representatives come together out of a common love for our country felt good and it felt right.
Once upon a time, there was a version of patriotism that was characterized by sacrifice, thoughtful exchange of intellectual ideals, and putting the good of the country over individual agendas. Are we worthy of those sacrifices and efforts made on our behalf today? Our forefathers fought and died to give us the freedom to choose our own leader. In the coming election, choosing our leader has become characterized by an unbelievable battleground for hate and viciousness….from both sides. They each fear that if the other one lands in the White House, it will actualize our downward spiral. It shouldn’t be a zero-sum game. I mean….WE’RE ON THE SAME TEAM!!! If we were playing football, it would be like trying to tackle our own quarterback. Shouldn’t choosing our leader be a win for America? Instead of being afraid of who will be in the Oval Office, I fear the many ordinary people that are splintering us from the inside out with self interest groups demanding placation, entitlement, or playing the blame game and creating ever more widening hostile chasms where Americans must once again choose sides….against each other.
Here’s a thought….What if we all changed the lens through which we viewed things? What if we took off those glasses of party, class, race, and gender and put on the lens of genuine love for our fellow man and for the country that we call home? Christians, we might call that a Jesus lens. Non-Christians could call it a humanity lens. WHAT-ever!! Perhaps we can find empathy somewhere in our hearts and begin the long walk around to try and understand another point of view. This new lens may focus a bit differently so we may need to do a little adjusting. It might include a little grace. It might include a little self reflection. It might include a little understanding. It might even include a little realization that someone else may have a good point? What if we ALL did that? That could change everything. It certainly couldn’t hurt. We’ve got to start somewhere because…. I love America and I want to keep her around for awhile!
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. ~ Abraham Lincoln