Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Proud to be an American?

This is not an attack. This is a look back at my life and my personal opinions of when I was proud to be an American. We will start with my birth year 1980. I was not cognizant of the plight of the gas prices, or the Iranian hostages. My first real step into politics was "Saturday Night Live" and the show that followed it "Spitting Image". These shows took a satirical view on politics that I was just beginning to understand. But did the Iran-Contra affair make me any less proud. I still stood up at baseball games during the national anthem and said the pledge of allegiance in class well into the 90's. But was this the ignorance of youth or was it true pride. I doubt I can say either way. The first day I can safely say I was proud to be an American was November 9, 1989. This day was the celebration of the end of the Cold War. The day the Berlin Wall fell. It felt like we as Americans had won. What we had done to bring this moment to our eyes is still up for debate. Surely, those who lived under the communist countries were as integral to the this shiny moment. Americans saw this as a crowning, an ascension to becoming the lone superpower in the world. I attended a very conservative private middle school in Houston during the election in '92. I was proud to walk into the Houston Grand Plaza Hotel for Clinton's victory party here. I was proud the next day in class as the children were consoled by our teacher. Was I proud for the country or was I proud for the process or was I proud for my party? Maybe I was proud that my classmates couldn't throw this shit back in my face. I was disgusted with the way the mid to late 90's. From the way the left took my youth and anger to the world's injustice in Rwanda and did nothing, to the way the right shut down the government and made everyone discuss blow jobs and stains on dresses. The 2000 election was the low point for me and many others. The idea that are votes can be discarded by the Supreme Court, disillusioned several from voting. The morning of the 11th I spent in horror as I watched the second plane hit. I remember sitting on a futon as me and my friends stayed glued to the screens wanting to gain more information. In the weeks to come I sat there proud as stories of people from New York and Washington were picking other people off the ground. As friends from New York called and told their specific stories that put the face on the tragedy, I remember where I was. All that put the hanging chads in the rear view and we as a nation went forward. Alas this would be the highlight of the decade so far. The events of Katrina and the quagmire of Iraq would bring the confidence of our nation down. The 2004 election seemed to divide us further. Living here I knew my vote mattered very little but to me it was a referendum on the War. I was proud of other things and disappointed in more. Some that come to mind our inaction in Darfur, or the people's response to Katrina. Today I asked a bunch of people what their greatest disappointment and proudest moments of being an American. They were all pretty close the 2000 election, the wall, the Challenger explosion, tragedies on both sides. Some happy moments some pretty sad ones. One stood out a friend said his happiest moments were at ball games when someone sings the anthem. And his saddest moment is when Barrack and Hillary and John McCain pander to the cameras on shows like Colbert and Letterman. That brings me joy when you hear that. I guess after all this I probably been happier to be here, but I also felt worse about this crazy land we live in. It is too bad I will never get to know which way I feel any day till I see what happens in our name as citizens. I need to go back to DC and figure out how I really feel. And thank you Katy for bringing my thoughts to the forefront. Keep up the good work, I like that you deserve response. P.S. This could have been longer but it is getting late and I want to get drunk.

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