Most of us have heard the great patriotic pomp and circumstance that make our heart swell with pride. Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American,” the once alive and sober Whitney Houston singing perhaps the greatest rendition of our National Anthem during the Superbowl and the witnessing the fly-over’s of fighter jets prior to the beginning of a football game or NASCAR race. Those are great times and for a brief moment we all feel connected. We are united as Americans because we acknowledge, for even that brief time, that we are lucky to be in this great country and really we are all in this thing together.
But then the game starts or the cars rev their engines and we are back to focusing on the things that make us different, rather than the 98% of the things that make us all the same.
Unfortunately, we are all to blame by putting too much importance on all the small stuff that politicians, companies and especially the media uses to divide us. Whether it is our belief in a certain religion, our belief in what personal freedoms we have or our belief on whether or not you should buy a PC or Apple product….the constant dynamic is one of division and differentiation. It has become the de-facto standard in which everything is marketed and communicated…and, in its excess, it has hurt America.
I am proud and understand how ridiculously lucky I am to have been born and live in America. I have had the opportunity to travel to many parts of the world, and America is without a doubt, for me the best country to live in. Sure, no country is perfect BUT we are some of the most generous, caring and open people around.
One of the most troubling “shifts” I’ve seen over the past few years is this idea that America or, better yet, Americans have something to apologize for. I concur, when it comes to many of our foreign policy blunders we haven’t always acted on the best “info” and many people’s lives and livelihoods have been destroyed….and that is terrible and it truly makes me want to throw up. We need to learn from these mistakes and not make them again. Dwelling on them will only cause the cancer of hate and blame to grow….which will make us blind to see the world as it truly is…a pretty great place if it wasn’t for a small minority of people hijacking religions or governments to promote their own self serving/ self-preservation agendas.
This week has no “launch” and has no “summary” like my other weeks have. This week’s message is that you need to feel damn lucky to be an American. If you don’t feel damn lucky or you think that America or other Americans “owe” you something because of some wrong in the past then GET OVER IT. If you can’t, then please leave. No one is perfect, no government is perfect, no company is perfect, and I am sure as hell not perfect (you can tell that just by my grammar.)
Let’s focus on the majority of things that make us the same. Let’s focus on Unity, not Diversity. The division of politics, advertising campaigns, and casual political conversation within Facebook are going to attempt to divide America more and more. I challenge you that whenever you experience this kind of behavior or rhetoric, chime in with a positive, unity building statement and try to bring common ground to the conversation. Sometimes it will work, other times it will not. But AMERICA NEEDS YOU TO TRY or she will never BE FIXED.
I’m not only proud to be an American, but I am also honored to be one. I hope you feel the same. If not, then strongly consider the other 192 countries out there….I am sure there will be a perfect match.
Week #10: March 5- 11th