My America

I love my country. I am proud to be an American. However, it is far from a perfect nation, considering a history of slavery, segregation, internment camps, and what happened with the indigenous people of this land. 

It pains me to see that there are far too many people who forget this country's history and continue to preach hate and exclusion while claiming to be true patriots. I hear people across this amazing nation say that they want to take America back. It clearly implies a very limited view of what America can and should be. We can not for the sake of our children turn back the clock and create some modern day Jim Crow or Apartheid to restrict upstanding individuals from their rights as American citizens. This is America, supposedly the greatest country in existence. It is about time its citizens, all of them, felt a greater sense of liberty and security. Look, I do not feel we all should agree on everything. That would make life considerably less interesting. But, Americans should agree that we all have the right to happiness. We all must show compassion. We all must be about tolerance. Hate must be put aside. This so called melting pot needs to embrace difference. 

I am reminded of the work of Langston Hughes. His poetry spoke to me so vividly as a young student of literature. "I, Too" is one of my favorite poems. It is a reminder that America is for all Americans, even those who might feel marginalized. There should be no definitive All-American look. I think about my daughter, who is multiracial. Even though we now have a president who is also the product of a black father and white mother, it does not seem as if we, as a nation, have fully embraced the idea of a non-white person being a face of this nation. Well, I feel my daughter has just as much of a right to be a face of this nation as any other citizen born or naturalized. She loves her country after all, just like her parents, and that's a good place to start.

 I, Too by Langston Hughes

I, Too by Langston Hughes

 

Posted on July 6, 2014 .