I once again got one of those "America - love it or leave it" kind of emails that always perplex me. I'm never quite sure how to respond.
I guess one could just agree … in a way that disconcerts them. This is a great country. It’s big, beautiful, has lots of opportunity, has helped to create fantastic things like the modern corporation and jazz music. We let our creative people – in the arts, business, or even politics – take their shot at disrupting the status quo. This is a wonderful place.
But which America do they want me to love? The America of Woody Guthrie or Senator Joseph McCarthy? The America of labor union activists or robber barons? The America of hip hop or rock or hymns or jazz? The America of John Steinbeck or Hunter S. Thompson, Eudora Welty or Walt Whitman? Tony Robbins or Billy Graham? Ralph Nader or Pat Robertson? The America of Jimi Hendrix or George Strait? Hells Angels or the KKK? Rednecks or latte-sipping yuppies? Wall Street types who get $30 million bonuses at year end or agricultural workers who get $30 at the end of the day? Evangelicals who get in your face to save your soul or the atheists who get in your face to tell you that you don’t have one? Ivory-tower liberals or sitting-at-the-diner-counter conservatives? Strip miners who leave the ground turned inside out or environmentalists who want all construction projects to stop?
America is such a big sprawl of a place with such diversity that I’m never sure what it means to say that you love it other than to say that you are a cultural omnivore who loves (not just tolerates) diversity. It is an amazing country and the oddest experiment in social diversity that this planet has ever witnessed, a place where worldviews and religions are started like fast-food franchises. To say that you love America is to say everything and nothing, I suppose.
I love America.