Things About This Place

A few weeks ago, in a 30 second news clip on the radio, the newscaster actually spent more seconds recounting what Melania Trump was wearing (or more appropriately, NOT wearing [i.e. stilettos]) on her visit to Houston than he did on the catastrophic recovery Houston was facing. While I am so relieved that our First Lady learned her lesson about the propriety of looking better than everyone else when visiting a disaster zone, can we please just get real as a nation for four seconds? Can we focus on the Good Guys doing the right things and the things that make us different and beautiful and strong?

I am so grateful to live in a country where we have so much liberty. I am grateful that football players have the right to take a knee during the National Anthem and I am equally grateful that the various and assorted teams of the NFL have the right to fire them if they so choose. I would be even more grateful to quit hearing about it, largely because disrespect of our National Symbols is something that leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but I know that these protests mean something different to the ones engaging in them.

I am thankful to live in a country where every redneck will drag his fishing boat across state after state to jump into chest-high murky water and pull out somebody that probably would have called him a racist any other time. It’s a timely coincidence that the rescue of Texas happened in close proximity to Labor Day weekend, which was originally established to celebrate the hardworking Americans that have built the strength and prosperity of our nation - you know, the ones driving semis full of supplies down to victims of Harvey, and opening their furniture stores to refugees. The legal immigrants who are a vital part of our colorful culture and dynamic infrastructure. The die-hard patriots who have memorized every word of the Constitution as if it were God-breathed. And guys like “Mattress Mack.” I firmly believe, deep down, the majority of Americans are, at their core, the Good Guys.

I am happy to live in a country where we don’t have to go to jail if we question the social value of old statues, and we don’t have to go to jail if we think those old statues tell us where we’ve come from and should remain standing. I am happy that we can ask questions, we can examine the past, and the future, and most importantly the present, to determine what we are doing wrong and how we can fix it. I am happy that we can think thoughts independent of each other, different from the people next door and down the street and across the country from us, but we can all be Americans, and even friends.

I hope to always live in a country where people go to jail for hurting others and violating their rights, not for fighting to protect them. I wish I could live in a country where every cop was good, racism was dead, religious leaders were trustworthy, no Muslims (or Christians) were radical extremists, and our political leaders were more Statesmen than politicians, but I live in a country of humans, so this will never be.

I don’t really like politics, or arguments, which might be two different words for the same thing, but I do like thinking and opinions and, like most people, I consider myself pretty good at both of those, and I am thankful that I can do them without fear. There are many, many things about our country that need to change, and things that are changing, however painful and slow the process seems to be, but I am grateful to live in a place where change is possible.

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