The greatness of this country lies not in the extraordinary lives of some, but the ordinary lives of many. Sure, we have had great innovators, transcendent thinkers, amazing inventors, trailblazers of unimaginable courage; but where would they be without someone or many someones taking their revelations and turning them into reality through hard work, and hardship. It takes people, many many people, who lived dirt poor lives, toiling and sweating in the factories and mines, or driving spikes into the ground building a railroad, or pouring tar in the stifling heat to pave a new road, or any millions of undertakings to carve a great country out of nothing but trees, prairie grass, mountains, bodies of water, and unfriendly wildlife while battling harsh winters, rampant disease, dangerous conditions; and still forging ahead through obstacles that would make Captain America himself shudder. The land’s first known European inhabitants, overcame war after gruesome war and took on challenge after challenge with the goal of making America “the shining city upon the hill, ” as Jesus originally was quoted and then Ronald Reagan so eloquently parralleled in his poignant 1989 farewell speech.
America is very complex as is anything that sanctions individual freedoms. Everyone holds their own concept of what that means to them. It’s messy and fabulous at the same time. As Bill Clinton once so brilliantly said, “There is nothing wrong in America that can’t be fixed with what is right in America.” Is he right, or is he right? C’mon, people, he is sooooo right!
There will always be things wrong with America, but we will continue to throw out our ideas and dive into the ring together trying to solve them. The common phrase is to ‘think outside the box.’ Box? What box? We don’t need no stinking boxes! (Using my best Al Pacino impression as Tony Montana in Scarface.) As if Americans ever placed themselves in a box. Ha! One of our first acts of rebellion in the new world in fact was a bunch of rag-tag in-your-face-partriots throwing a bunch of boxes of tea overboard into the Boston Harbor.
I love that generation after generation continually approaches the world with new eyes of possibility and promise. A peaceful world without injustice, evil, or scorn is a worthy world-view goal, but knowing what we know about innate behavior, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
This brings me to those wishing to do us harm through scare tactics, terror, intimidation, and attempting to strong-arm us into doing what they want or forcing us to adapt their beliefs. They don’t really know us, do they? We are collectively a tough breed. We don’t cower inside and try not to be noticed when something awful happens. We all come out of our homes, roll up our sleeves, and combat our anger by trying to help fix whatever wrong has befallen us. One only needs to look back as far as the horror from last weekend in Orlando or 9/11 or the Boston Marathon bombings to learn a valuable lesson about Americans. We can fight among ourselves, but we are one when the chips are down. Another shout-out to Boston Strong, but you can interject any of our great town or city names in front of the word Strong. We are strong, y’all. In all of these life-changing situations there were people tragically blown up or shot that day — killed, maimed, lives changed forever. Every available person wanted to help in one way or another. It took public announcements and curfews to keep us in our homes and out of the way. We respected law enforcement and first responders and the job they were trying to do so we complied en masse. In the Boston situation who lead to the capture of the last suspect? A good ole ordinary American who realized something was not quite right and called the authorities.
Heads up everybody out there … we really don’t like being intimidated for just living our lives to the best of our abilities. Senseless and tragic acts against our citizens rock our world and sadden us to the core, but first and foremost they just simply put – piss us off.
We’re not a perfect nation. Our perfection is in our imperfection. We keep trying to evolve past the ignorance and dumbfoundedness of our early ancestors in some of their past discretions; however, most of us keep looking forward and wish we didn’t have to continually defend our heritage. Stuff happened, not always good stuff, but none of us have the corner on regrettable passages of time. We should recognize the past, appreciate the accomplishments, sacrifices, and wondrous things that occurred; and remember them for what they were — pieces of history where lives and environments were different; but where people were still trying to muddle their way through however they could. We should all not have to continually pay the price for the sins of our fathers. Carrying shame and regret for things we had nothing to do with is handcuffing us to our past and stunting our growth for the future.
We have not reached a collective sigh of relief that all is well in the Universe. This Universe? Not a chance, but we all keep on keeping on to the best of our abilities trying to figure it all out and do the best we can. It’s not perfect, but it is pretty darn great.. Merica! … Sandy