Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Am Not Un-American

I've been hearing a lot about the erosion of family in this country lately and how it's due to all the "changes" our nation has gone through in the last few decades. When this subject of erosion arises it is typically followed with the reasons being gay marriage, pro-choice or women working more.

I'm sorry but I fail to see how two men or women getting married and possibly starting a family to be an erosion of any sorts. If anything the erosion is that we simply lack the selfless behavior and feelings of charity and goodwill towards other human beings who think differently than we do. We used to have them. We are so busy filling our homes with items that we want other people to see us having that we have become too preoccupied and fail to see and converse with the people who share that space with us- our families. We get wrapped up in petty fights and families break apart and siblings no longer talk. Years go by and that link is lost. More people are affected than just the two arguing but they don't see it.

Let me ask you this- Raise your hand if you know and have befriended your neighbor. Have you been in their house? Do you know their names even? In many cities and towns this is no longer the case. We wouldn't know if our neighbor went missing because we don't pay attention to others around us anymore. We are too busy with our own lives. We are too busy. Yet, it's not really busy. It is just distractions.

In other more cheesy words, "We've lost that loving feeling." We claim to get back into this at this time of year. We vowed to ban together last November, remember? Then it got hard and things didn't poof! magically change overnight like we are so accustomed. Why can't the changes needed to fix our nation be as fast as my food, phone and computer? Damn it! But I want them now! Blech.

As Americans we love to say things like, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" or "These colors don't run!" That apple pie is American. Well, I hate apple pie. Does that make me un-American? Does it make me un-American to support choice? That I have gay friends and family members who I support and love? That I believe what Matthew Hoh has to say but still support our troops? No, it doesn't. To me you become un-American when you start spouting crap about what makes someone American or not and setting up those dividing lines. I know as a country we are all about choice and freedom of one's opinion but intolerance isn't freedom of one's opinion. It's simply hatred and fear in disguise.

Here's the thing, no matter what side we are on this country is broken. B-R-O-K-E-N. Broken. We all need to stand up and admit it and cop to being part of the problem. We Americans love to talk. Look at all our pundits. Pundits don't solve problems. Arguing with those who already side with your own point of view doesn't solve our problems either. Respecting each other, actually listening and working together doesn't make you "evil" either. When I hear that Republican Senators are treated like defectors, ignored and disowned by their party simply because they want to reach across the aisle and work with the Democrats on fixing our country it makes me so incredibly sad and furiously angry. It makes me want to do things to these one-sided self-serving fools that would have me arrested. About forty times. I want to scream, "It's not about you! It's about the greater good!" I know I'm an idealist, it's sweet isn't it? I hate to get all Carrie Bradshaw on you when I say, "I can't help but wonder if we started getting to know our neighbors, talking to our family members more and shutting off our "stuff", if we heard others more no matter what their view we could grow enough to actually fix and create the changes our nation so desperately needs." It's imploding on top of us and it's our fault.

It takes time and we are only at the tippiest tip of the base of the start of this change but we are there. We just have to realize it will be a long, arduous battle. Not just give it lip service either. It is a work in progress that won't be fixed perfectly the first time around. It is one that doesn't get solved by arguing with those who agree with us but by opening our ears, minds and hearts to all those around us. Reaching out, fostering relationships, coming together and working for change is American. Hating those who think differently, refusing to work and listen to the other side and calling them traitors to their country? Well, that sounds like the work of a terrorist if you ask me.


  1. Great post! I agree. And I am not "anti-family" either, just because I believe gays should be able to get married.

  2. I have always been one to believe that change is possible for any individual, family, community, or nation. Thanks for expressing this. It actually resonates somewhat with a quote I read today by one of my favorite Christians (and there's not too many of those left, honestly), Shane Claiborne:

    "If there is anything I have learned from liberals and conservatives, it's that you can have great answers and still be mean... and that just as important as being right is being nice."

  3. Anonymous1:31 PM

    ....was Charlotte right....? Did we just need to listen to our neighbors across the hall in our upper east side apartments?
    LOVE this post!! Carrie Bradshaw and all!!

  4. Amen sister friend


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