I’ve been listening to this song all day and thinking about America.
I remember sitting in a car with my mother circa 1993, and being called on to defend my ex-husbands adopted Korean sisters because to mom all Asians were forever tainted by Pearl Harbor, an action of the Japanese government (rather than an entire citizenry/race) which was more than atoned for by dropping nuclear bombs onto innocent people but it didn’t matter. She just couldn’t let it go.
How did we get here? How did it happen? How are there people in this country who can believe a liar who spews hate is a “straight shooter,” accept as speaker at their political party’s convention a filthy troll-wannabe who tweets to the world the word “c*nt” to describe our female candidate, and accepts the platform of a party who wants to register and ban all members of a certain religious faith?
How did this happen?
I agree that we are not where we want to be. My (old) political party is itself a disgusting shitshow of entitlement and buyouts, and that the admission of failure rests on the backs of the now-disappeared middle class who have found themselves now on the corners holding cardboard signs asking for “any amount,” but we won’t ever get to where we want to be through irrational fear, including of fellow human beings who just happen to be different than us, because we’ve already done this–hated indiscriminately–and it still resolved into peaceful coexistence, and will again because hate is unsustainable (google it) and we can’t keep repeating the same behaviors and pretending it’s not insanity. Because it is. It’s insanity. And those who want to preserve an entitlement, income-inequality, non-Muslim America aren’t even preserving “America”.
Because America is better than this. America is better than our individual grudges, better than looking past homeless people, the addicts, the mentally ill; it’s better than knee-jerking into non-compromise about gun control, better than bombing the shit out of the world and allowing ourselves to look away from feeling some measure of responsibility for sheltering some of the refugees that we helped to create.
So let’s just all have a good cry in the corner, arms hugging our knees, rocking back and forth, until the anxiety and disappointment subside, and we finally remember what love and acceptance feels like.
Because even as the curtain has been pulled back to reveal both puppetmaster and bogeyman, I know that I can’t give up on this.
I will stand by the values that were injected into me as part of this beautiful social experiment–constantly trying and failing then trying again–because I know even as I watch this video and see the American in admiration for a Korean, and the Korean audience singing along with the American’s song, I know that America is bigger than me, bigger than my own desires and my own individual catastrophe. Bigger than them, singers, audience, nationalities. She belongs to the whole world.
And with my heart and soul–and with the hearts and souls of so many before me–she is an entity worth fighting for.
So, America, I’m yours.