Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What Must the World Think of Us?

I've been wondering as I look at reports on Google Analytics that tell me people all over the world have read this blog - what must they think?
Not about me personally - chances are a reader in Micronesia wouldn't feel much different than my next door neighbor. But what about America?
Until just a few years ago I'd never really left the country. Not for lack of desire - it was lack of opportunity and lack of funds. But finally, as a gift to my newly 18 year old son, I hopped a plane and we explored Paris, Rome and some of the small hill towns between Rome and Florence.
It was life changing.
I never considered myself parochial. I've been to most of the states in the US. I've been to Canada (and loved it). I always knew there was a much larger world beyond this country and I longed to get to know it. But I didn't know. I really didn't.
The sense of history, the thrill of hearing everyone around you speak a language you barely understand, the mind shift that occurs when you are truly in a strange land (no matter how Westernized), the chance to sit and watch human beings living a life much like your own, yet somehow very different; it thrilled me and left me often gaping stupidly or grinning like an idiot.
I like my country. It's been good to me and my family. But I'm horrified by the latest GOP campaign tactic - pointing out the 'real' America as opposed to the rest of America.
Jon Stewart handled it beautifully this week - he was clearly offended and he had every right to be. New York City, that hotbed of liberal elitists, is where America suffered its worst terrorist attack ever. And to say that New Yorkers aren't 'real' Americans, to imply that only small town conservatives qualify as 'real' Americans, is to spit on Ground Zero and every family that lost someone in that attack.
So we're fighting among ourselves...not the Blue and Gray anymore, but the Blue and the Red. And our friends around the world, as well as our enemies or those who just don't trust us, are watching us squabble like kids at a toybox. We look immature. We look petty. And we are.
I'm tired of hearing cheerleaders for divisiveness. I don't want to hear any more booing, jeering, no more pep rallies for hate and fear.
I am an American and I want to be able to be proud when I say that. It's time to start acting our age.

No comments: