Tuesday, November 12, 2013

American Life

I have always been strongly vested in America. Of course, there's the basic reason of simply being an American. That's not what I mean. There's more to being an American than such a straightforward answer. There are values that you live up to, drawn on your bones by those who came before you, striving for a better life. These values are represented by a flag waving in a gentle breeze on a summer's day of fresh-baked apple pie and a cold Coca-Cola; an eagle soaring high above all, seeing all; and the numerous memorials dedicated to those who've fallen fighting for it all... for us all.

During the earliest years of my life, I found myself astounded by history. I used to be able to name the presidents of the United States better than I could spew out my times tables. I was deeply touched by the words and actions of those who did something notable enough to be mentioned in a history book. To me, if you were in a history book, you didn't have to look anywhere else for fame or fortune. A history book was, simply, it.

I spent a good deal of time today simmering in deep thoughts, which is just what I tend to do in cold weather, regardless of how busy I am. I can't help it, nor can I help that I often get really angry or depressed while in this often-dreary realm. Today, I thought about our country with the attitude of Rhett Butler: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

I hate feeling that way about my country. Regardless of my feelings, though, I know many who find themselves unable to trust this or that about the government. Sometimes, for some crazy reason, I find myself defending the entire establishment, almost like it's my child. "Oh, he didn't mean to do that. He's just going through a phase." Yeah, right. Still, the child in me won't surrender. She's sitting in the back of my brain, shining a flashlight of hope through my eyes, and singing patriotic songs as long and as loud as she can. I fear that the light and the sound of her voice are fading and she's drifting further and further back. I cry for her, and the many children of our great nation who are losing hope before it can even begin blooming.

On top of all my negative thoughts, I read a student's paper today that stated her disagreement about the continued use of the presidential office. She didn't elaborate, but it didn't stop a part of me from asking the paper, "Why?" while another part thought about the disagreement between Congress and the president - one that could have sent us into an economic shutdown. I won't bore you with the details, because I know there are people more qualified that can tell you about it. Still, when I mentioned the Era of Good Feelings while I was teaching today, I couldn't help but think, "Will we ever go through one of those again?"

The American people deserve such an era, instead of the one we're all witnessing now. In this cold, nasty weather, we all deserve a warm place to call our own - not living in a tent, wondering where our next meal will come from, or if we'll live to see tomorrow. We need a brighter tomorrow. We need our hope. We need the fundamental foundations of our lives to remain in tact. Most importantly, we need our country - for it is, and hopefully will always be, our home.

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