Thursday, July 3, 2014

How To Get Patriotic

One of the most surprising experiences of traveling was finding a deep appreciation and love for my own country. I have always been grateful to be an American, but never as grateful as I was spending 8 months traveling further and further away from it. Do we have our problems? Yes. We are a gun-toting, GMO-crop sharing, fame-whore, nation fueled by capitalism, addictions, and religious zealotry that constantly threatens to destroy the very spirit of America that says we are ALL CREATED EQUAL.

When Mike and I came home, exhausted and culture shocked from our trip, there was a lot to be sad about. A lot to complain about. A lot of different perspectives to acknowledge. However, when Mike's family asked him what his favorite country was, his answer came without a second thought, "America." We laughed, but there was a lot of truth to it. Could we be happy living in Italy, Southern Spain, New Zealand...OF COURSE. But for as liberal and well traveled and "cultured" as we think we are, deep down our blood runs red, white, and blue, baby.

Am I pissed off at this country most of the time? YES. I have a bone to pick with the Supreme Court, and the Tea Party, gun lobbyists, and people who shit all over women's and civil rights. But, man, there is also a lot to appreciate, to honor, and to be grateful for. It is easy to get wrapped up in the constant stream of criticism and debate, political fodder, and downright lunacy. But I reckon it is even harder for a liberal to say how much they love this country, because let's be honest - "patriotism" has been co-opted by the right and to be pro-America somehow evokes GOP. But, I'm here to take back my own version of patriotism, because the truth is, I have been a practicing patriot for a long time and that includes dissent, exploration, and disappointment. But I love this country because, well, everything. This blog. My right to prosecute when someone has hurt me. My right that I am innocent until proven guilty. My privilege to drive a car, to eat at nice restaurants, to turn on the tap and have clean water. My access to doctors and especially now with the Affordable Care Act. My luxury to have a choice, all the time, every time. My right to bitch about this country and do what I can to help it continue to progress. The fact that as a young girl I was allowed and encouraged to play soccer, a sport that quickly became a passion of mine and on that note, I do believe I will see the US Men's Team win the World Cup in my lifetime! And on a completely separate note, I have mad respect for the US soccer team because they don't get into all that "flopping" stuff. For the most part, they have little drama on the field and for that I am so grateful.

But on this fourth of July, I think Mike and I will appreciate it more than perhaps we ever have before.  Happy Fourth, y'all!

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