It’s Fourth of July morning, and I am not on a long weekend holiday or at a huge barbeque. I am, in fact, in Kuala Lumpur; my wife is asleep, and today is the due date of our first child, however the doctor thinks she will be late. Although, I moved away from the States because I cannot handle living in the land of the free right now, there are things I love about “home.” In the spirit of positivity and good will, I have decided rather than write up a scathing post about the evils of America, I would instead make a list of the things that make me love her. So many people have accused me of hating America, because I am constantly pointing out the brutal actions of its government that I often need to demonstrate why I love the place.
Here’s why I love ya’. (This list is no particular order)
to read anything,
dress in any way.
Sunday mornings during football season
mid-week day baseball games
NYC soft pretzels
Americans tend to be very frank and unpretentious
Hunter S. Thompson
National parks and wide-open spaces
Every time I meet an American overseas, it feels like we share a secret. We are both proud and guilty at the same time. Whatever the emotion, I feel connected. That feels nice.
The Beat Generation
Martin Luther King
When I walk the streets I feel like I own the place, where as when in foreign countries I have to worry not to offend
Rock N’ Roll
New York City
Most people know how to drive and are courteous (Try driving in Asia!)
There are toys in the cereal
I can say that George W. Bush is a total idiot and not be executed (not yet at least)
Les Paul guitars
Writing this list proved to be much more difficult than I thought. I tried to find things about authentic American culture that I can relate to, but it seems to be getting more and more difficult. Seeing that I am a vegetarian, pacifist, things like BBQ’s and Nascar seem superficial and insubstantial. So many facets of our culture seem commercial and/or militaristic. But I wanted this to be a positive post so I digress.
I have driven across the nation on two occasions, and I have seen a lot of the culture has to offer, both good and bad. But as I sit here in Malaysia, after two years of being away from her shores, I can honestly say that I miss the feeling of walking the streets of New York or San Francisco. At the end of the day those places show us that there is a hope for us as a nation. They show us what America could be. I do not take pride in our nations ignorance, arrogance, or our bigger means better mentality, but America is more than that. The very progressive ideals of places like San Francisco and New York City are what make America whole.
What my list proves is that the thing I love most about America is the fact that I am free to defy America. The freedom of dissent is what truly makes America a beautiful place. The fact that there is not only one culture, but that there are many, and we are trying to make this nation work together is a beautiful thing. This is our America too. So while the red states wave their flags, cheer the president, and stuff their faces with beef, on this our nation’s birthday, I applaud the fact that we, the thorn in their sides, have a stake in this land too. It is our nation too, and we will fight for her. We will speak out when we see injustice because we believe in the idea that all men are created equal. We believe in liberty and justice for all. We will walk the streets: tattooed and pierced, gay and straight, black and white, burning the flag, chanting THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRAY LOOKS LIKE. Because we are Americans too and we can. Our freedom cannot be defended with a machine gun, but with our voices and our refusal to silence them. Until those rights are taken from us, I will not give up on America.
Happy Birthday America! I will not be home any time soon, because the world is too big a place to explore, but your dream is safe in my heart. One day I hope we can make it come true.