A Beautiful Rant on What it Means to Love America…(and what it doesn’t mean)

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Jim Wright, retired US Navy Chief and all around bad-ass tears apart a phony “patriot” at Stonekettle Station. 

Take your time, read it over.

My friend filkertom pointed me to it (and if you love good filk, he’s your man).  It’s a beautiful rant that goes into depth about all the amazing hatreds that many in the “patriotic” crowd harbor.

I didn’t write that rant, but I’ve thought it many times, when I drove by a neighbor’s home with a Confederate flag hanging proudly below a US flag so ragged it should long ago have been retired, or when I had arguments with relatives over whether my President has a right to be considered American, let alone be elected, or when I’ve had to fight for the right of my mentally ill and homeless clients to simply exist.

But I didn’t write that rant, though goodness knows I sure can rant when I get a head of steam going.  That credit goes to a man in Alaska I’ve never heard of before today, someone who has now been added to my RSS feed, and who I now consider to be someone whose writing, at least, I want to get to know better.

In his rant, he asks what this dude, this guy with the warning sticker bumperstickers and the Confederate flag proudly displayed on his truck, what this dude loves about America.  I don’t know what that dude loves about America, but I sure do know what I love about her.

What it Means to Love America

I love that America is still a place people run to in this world, when escaping oppression.

I love that in America we can have these arguments, loudly, angrily, bitterly, and yet still, every election day, solve them bloodlessly at the polls.

I love that when America makes mistakes, she never forgets, and sometimes, long after the fact, makes amends.

I love that even now America is still the land of opportunity, even if for only some, and that there are still Americans that work to make it the land of opportunity for all.

I love that some Americans love their country and their neighbors so much that they stood outside the State Capitol in Wisconsin for weeks on end, in freezing temperatures, tens and hundreds of thousands of them, fighting to improve their lives and the lives of their neighbors.

I love that when I look around the farmer’s market on Saturday morning, nearly every language known to man is spoken, and the cuisines of a hundred different corners of the earth are sold.

I love that men and women still enlist to serve their country, and others sign up to protest the wars, and they can all still go to coffee together and love one another, and respect one another.

I love that when people get upset in America, we pick up our pens, and our phones and our placards, for the most part, and save our guns for hunting and self-protection.

I love that the word “American” can mean a person born here or naturalized, old or young, male or female, straight or gay, and we all have the ability to make that label ours.

I love that when a tragedy strikes in another part of the world, proud and sometimes clueless Americans will climb over each other to get to that place and help, will write checks and send tweets and show support and really, honestly care.

And I love that we do the same thing when a kitten gets rescued from a tree or a mama duck crosses the road with her ducklings.

I love that we still have the ability to feel awe and wonder when the Star Spangled Banner is sung, and that we also still can feel free to criticize and strive to improve the country being sung for.

I love the space in this land, each region, each state its own neighborhood, but all part of one cohesive whole.

With all its flaws, even though it farts and belches and adjusts itself and spits on the ground sometimes as it swaggers around the world, I love America.

Thank you, my home.


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