What Will Become Of My Beautiful America?

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

I love my country desperately, which is why I nightly, cornily, off-keyily, sing “God Bless America” to my children before they go to sleep.

America is the country that saved my grandmother, uncle and father from the last days of the concentration camps in World War II and allowed my mother’s family the chance to rise from lives as dirt-poor Russian immigrant peasants to free, educated people.

It is on the this piece of earth that I, myself, have been allowed me to find a life-partner, birth two healthy children and make a decent living thinking up and writing down stories, which, in my eyes, is beyond a luxury.

But THAT is all in the past.

In the present we slide from the overcast years of unjust war and a administration run by a inept community who despises the very concept concept of government itself into the nor’easter of recession that, at BEST, is already the worst economic mess since… well… you finish the sentence.

People are already losing their jobs and their homes, which is the economic manifestation of having so badly and completely and overwhelmingly lost our priorities and ideals.

Lost our country.

Lost our country that I love.

And yet… I am truly hopeful.

Every time this country has gotten punched in the jaw… something glorious and unexpected has happened.

The horror of the civil war begat the Emancipation Proclamation.

The suffering of the great depression brought us FDR and the New Deal.

The blood of Medgar Evers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, Dr. Martin Luther King, President John Kennedy and thousands upon thousands of unnamed others was the unfortunate oil necessary to finally open the door to the Civil Rights Act.

See, every time we LOSE “modern” America, we seem to FIND the America that was enacted, if not envisioned, by our founding fathers, who wrote that, “All men are created equal,” even if, at the time, their definition did not… could not… be as broad and all-encompassing as we will continue to make it.

For months and months I have, on odd Sunday mornings, turned to my wife and asked… “Is it really possible that we’ll actually elect a black man President of the United States?”… and on most of those mornings her response has been a shrug of the shoulders and an unconfident smile.

But on this Sunday morning I sat at the end of the bed, waiting for the sun to come up and realized that I no longer had to ask the question at all.

“Yes, we will elect a black man President of the United States as well as a Congress strong enough to enact an agenda and we will, as we have always done before… despite what we’ve just done to ourselves… begin the latest version of the search for the country that I love so much.”

We’ve shot ourself in the foot, but our short history indicates that such action is often the unconscious act of a people who know they’ve fallen into a coma and are on the verge of slipping into the void.

We are starting to wake up, this country that I love, and I, for one, am glad to be hear to see it.


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  1. Starting with gratitude is a great way to begin the process of envisioning and building the future.

    I too am filled with gratitude for my marriage, my children, my home, my work, my abundance and for the multitude of small inspirations I enjoy every day.  That’s the fuel for dreaming into being a society in which there is peace, equal opportunity, abundance, and justice.

    Thanks for reminding us.  

  2. This, too, makes me optimistic.  I posted this comment in a different thread, but it seems apropos here as well:

    *Ben Stein is no liberal*

    although he has written that he thinks the current tax code is unfair and people in his income bracket should be paying more, not less, taxes.

    Today’s NYT has him writing this:

    A FEW days ago, I spoke to a large gathering of investors in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, and was startled by the audience’s furious anger at the powers that be….

    In fact, they are among the angriest upper- and middle-class people I have ever seen. And the most frightened and worried. (In a way, they are now feeling the way ordinary workers have been feeling for years.)


    People planning for retirement were told they could expect that their savings in broad indexes of common stocks would double roughly every 10 years. But we are now below where we were in 1998. If pre-retirees needed that doubling to get to their savings goals, they are now cut off at the knees….

    What do people – decent, hard-working people – do now?… Uncertainty and fear rule….

    And I wonder whose side government is on, which is a bad thought to have, and I wish I didn’t have it.


    The whole thing is worth reading.  I’m flirting with the limits of fair use here (hence the ellipses) but if the upper middle class is this fearful and angry, we may have a group that will help us rabble-rousers retake our government from the cabal of multimillionaires who rule it.

    Just a thought.

  3. Well…that’s all very poetic and syrupy. AND IT”S WRONG!

    America did not save your grandmother and family in the last days of the concentration camps….IT WAS THE RUSSIANS!

    Now, whether American troops entered the camp or not…and you should make absolutely sure for your own clarification….it doesn’t matter.

    THE RUSSIANS WON WORLD WAR II more than any other country and THE RUSSIANS NOT THE AMERICANS defeated the GERMANS in World War II

    Thank the RUSSIANS.

    The problem with what you have written is…it’s non sense. It’s bullshit.

    America is currently a very violent nation, currently an ARAB KILLER in the mid east and it isn’t saving anyone. It’s killing people for no reason. It’s wars in the mideast have been objectively shown to be based on false premises and ILLEGAL.

    This nations mythical history from beggining to end is embedded in you through the educational/indoctrination system from childhood.

    You owe it to yourself to develop a better understanding of America’s actual history instead of being a pawn.

  4. despite the onslaught of propaganda and visions of greed, violence and dark fear we have allowed to take a hold of our national psyche. When the people of the TV world talk of Main Street, values, and Heartland, I do not see the people I live amongst. I don’t count my immigrant grandparents among this version of mainstream. What allowed us as a people to let the darkest part of our characters to turn the daylight night?

    Two songs about this country I love, This Land is Your Land and hunks of this one,

    O beautiful for spacious skies,

    For amber waves of grain,

    For purple mountain majesties

    Above the fruited plain!

    America! America! God shed His grace on thee,

    And crown thy good with brotherhood

    From sea to shining sea!

    As I watch this election play out I alternate between loving my fellow countrymen and thinking who are these people. I hope that we have enough common decency to start the long road back to some semblance of common good and the actual values reflected in our laws and the Bill of Rights. I hope that humanism and liberal stop being dirty words and we as a nation take a journey that actually does represent real democracy freedom, brotherhood and common good. The big question is will we?        

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