from Zero to Writer

from Zero to Writer

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


As the 4th of July approaches, I take advantage of the season by listening to one of my most beloved songs: "America the Beautiful" by Ray Charles. I put that sucker on repeat and jam the frick out. It's my all time favorite, baby.

In case you don’t know this version, or it’s been a while since Ray's velvet notes hit your eardrums, let me refresh your memory… 

Oh Beautiful, for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self, our coutnry loved,
And mercy more than life,
America, America, may God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
and every gain devined.

This gets me thinking… 

I want to love America right now. With everything in me, I want to be proud of our nation and its people and my neighborhood and my state and my brotherhoods/sisterhoods and my heroes.

I want to be proud. So, you know what?...

Dammit, I’m going to be proud.

You feel it, too, right? It starts with the smell of grilled hot dogs and the sound of fireworks, and moves into the cockles of your heart with the memory of people who've died for our freedom...

It’s okay to be patriotic right now, even if you’re mad at the way our country is handling things. I'm mad, too. Since the dawn of our country, people have been fighting over how to handle things. Sometimes the solution is comforting, other times it pisses us right the hell off. The important questions is...

     How are you handing things?

It’s okay to be patriotic even if you’re scared about what’s happening to our great nation. I'm scared. Things are crazy and crappy and everything seems haphazard and confusing. I never thought I'd see the day when our country would fall so hard on so many levels, but that isn't what's important. The important question is...

     What are you doing to lessen the fear?

It’s okay to be patriotic when there’s so much hate. Hate is everywhere. It's on social media, it's in the comment section, it's screamed at Americans and immigrants alike at car washes and restaurants and in the subway. Hate has never not been a part of our country, but it feels like it's magnified more than ever. This world is not heaven, and so hate will continue. The important question is...

     How are you loving others?

It’s okay to be patriotic when you’re embarrassed by the policies and people in the limelight. I wouldn't do things the same way that our leaders are doing them. I would handle things differently. So would you. It's mortifying sometimes to be represented by people who seem like they're charting our course like they're playing "Pin the Tail on The Freaking Donkey." Sure, I can make my voice heard, I can vote, I can yell. But that's not enough. We have to see this on a local level. We need to react to those we can literally reach out and touch. If we all do this--from coast-to-coast--this country will be better. The important question is...

    What are you doing to make America great?

It’s okay to be patriotic, because our country is not our policies, the news, or certain ideals. Our country is not hatred. Our country is not fear. 

Our country is its people.

Stand up for our people. Respect our people. Love our people.

Don’t give up.

We are America