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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

America

We are not who you think we are.

We are not the man who momentarily holds the office of the President. We are not his Party, or his advisors, or his handlers.

We are not a smiling soldier who holds a naked prisoner on a leash, or another who rapes and murders the people he has been sent to liberate.

We are not the businesses who steal from the people by selling them goods that they cannot afford to manufacture.

We are none of these things, and we are all of them.

We are people from Somewhere Else. We came here by land bridge, by boat, by plane, by raft, walking, jumping, running, swimming, skulking.

We are the people who reintroduced the idea of a republic to the world, who engaged in a great experiment in representative democracy at a time when much simpler and more certain systems prevailed.

We are the people who stay away from the polls in record numbers each election day.

We are easily fooled. We are easily placated. We are quick to settle into contentment and ease.

We do not forget injury, nor do we soon forgive.

We are reasonable. We are fanatics.

We are cowards who shake our fists and cry "Havoc!" and are called patriots, and we are heroes who counsel restraint and are called traitors.

We are old and facing a future of want. We are young and facing a future of despair. We are in between and are trying to keep it from all falling apart.

We seethe with hatred and seethe with love. We plot the downfall of the mighty and corrupt and we plot the success of the small and ambitious.

We forget our past and we ignore our future. We embrace our past and we fear our future. We learn from our past and we plan for our future.

We are children killing children. We hate our neighbors as ourselves.

We lined up to give blood that was not needed and would never be used. We donated water and clothing and blankets that sat in warehouses until they rotted.

We put pennies in jars to buy shoes for dogs who sniffed through the rubble to find the remains of people who had been crushed and burned and cut to pieces months before.

We are bodies falling from the windows of a dying building.

We are the people who watched it all unfold on TV one bright September morning.

We love our nation as we destroy it.

We are all of these things and none of them.

We are optimism and hopelessness. We are foolish and we are wise. We are arrogant and belligerent and ugly and beautiful and peace-loving and humble.

We are not who you think we are. We are exactly who you think we are.

We are America.

3 comments:

Gort said...

A dichotomy of a nation. Well said.

anne said...

Well done. Happy 4th to you!

betz said...

food for thought my dear friend.
on one of the videos i did today it was showing footage of the oklahoma bombing.
how sad, how very sad.