fingerpaint the sky

till everything shines

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Mnhei'sahe
[misc] dreamers
genarti
I half-expected that I would feel what so many others on my friendslist are speaking of, or have spoken of in the past: an urge to leave the country -- for Canada, for Europe, for anywhere -- to get away from a president who tramples over everything that is best about America, and the laws that his administration have brought about and will continue to bring about.

I don't.

What I feel is resignation, numb dread, anger. But this country is my country, and America is not Bush. I cannot give up something that has so deeply shaped who I am. For better or for worse, I am an American; the land that roots me is that outside my window, the rolling hills and fields and layered indigo mountains of Vermont. My ideas of what a democracy and a society should be have been shaped by American ideals -- not by what America is, necessarily, but by what it dreams of being, what it pushes itself to be and believes it is and wishes it were. There is much that is good in this country, and much that is not good now but could be, and much that is good but could be better.

This is not to say that I plan never to live anywhere else; I would love to live for a few years in another country. Perhaps I'll even end up emigrating someday; who knows? But it will not be because I have abandoned my country, and my dreams for it. It will be, if it happens, because I love new places, and love learning about them, and because I will have made a life for myself in that place. It will not be because I turn my back on America.

Maybe it's not always the land of the free. Maybe it confuses brave with reckless. Maybe it's a striding, strutting, idealistic adolescent of a country. But it wants to be free, and brave, and make the world a better place, and what can I who am American born and bred do but want to fight to make that a reality?

Bush is not America. His America is not mine. But he cannot destroy mine. He can hurt it, he can lead the country away from it, he can be a thorn and a setback and a great grief to me and mine, but he cannot destroy all of what I love about this country, and it would take far more than four more years for him to make this country unable to remember what it could be.

I have had Ael t'Rllaillieu from Diane Duane's My Enemy, My Ally in my head all day -- a woman who betrayed what her Empire had become only to save what she could of what it had been, accepting lifelong exile for love of her homeland. The personalities and situations involved are quite, quite different, of course. But those of you who have read that book, consider this my hanging of the name-flag for America, with the fourth truest name and love in my heart.

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Bush is not America. His America is not mine. But he cannot destroy mine. He can hurt it, he can lead the country away from it, he can be a thorn and a setback and a great grief to me and mine, but he cannot destroy all of what I love about this country, and it would take far more than four more years for him to make this country unable to remember what it could be.

Amen!
We've had bad leaders before, and we've always made it through. I'm not going anywhere either--in fact I'll stay right here in my government job precisely because I do have faith in our country and our government and it strikes me as the best way to work for change.

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For what it's worth, when I left America in the middle of October I said that I wanted to come back, and that I would eventually hope to move there. Maybe not permanently, but for a time. I said that under a Bush administration, and the fact that the Bush administration will continue has failed to affect my resolve to do so. Your country is great despite the yahoos in office, whoever they may be.

I'm white, male and straight so I admit to the potential for bias, but I still think that my gut instinct on this is sound. It's held me straighter to the truth where complex analysis has let me down over the last four years. It's also held me straighter to the truth than Bush's gut instinct or analysis or whatever he uses, but that's by the by.

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