Life As An Art Form

Quips & Commentaries in Prose and Poetry

America the Beautiful

Avril Somerville (SomerEmpress)

“You know something?

I’m thankful to be in this country. There are many freedoms and opportunities here that can’t be enjoyed in many places around the world. I’m especially thankful for the principles of democracy and freedom of speech. Most of all, I am profoundly thankful for friends who challenge me in love, spirit, and truth. Whether we share the same party or political ideas, religious/ faith beliefs, ethnicity, class, or sexuality, they know that our common interests are greater than our ideological differences.

We fundamentally want the same things, but may have a different vision for getting there. Ultimately, my true friends know that my heart is good. They hold me to a higher standard, yet still respect my freedom of thought as an important tenet of being an individual, and being an American.”

***************

I shared the above post with “friends” on my personal Facebook account today, and upon receiving initial feedback, I felt led to share it here. I am cautious about my use of the word “friends” because I know that this descriptor doesn’t always capture the magnitude of my relationships on Facebook; nonetheless, many of us connect in this way as a result of several, separate connections and networks that ultimately bring us together. This fact alone should present an opportunity to further open up and get to know each other better.

Without a doubt, there is incredible energy, both positive and negative, about Barack Obama’s reelection to office. I will be the first to admit that in all of my excitement and running comments during the debates and then again while the results trickled in, I never once thought that any of what I said could be interpreted as anything other than excitement for my candidate of choice. I would be naïve, however, to ignore the fact that this nation is divided, though by all accounts, Obama’s win was a decisive one.  Still, I am hopeful about our country’s ability to galvanize behind our common experiences and heart convictions.

I also hope that, if nothing more, this opener sparks a conversation that gets us to a more communal space where diversity of thought and experience is encouraged, valued, and respected.

Welcome to the table!

**Also, you can still check out PBS’ “Race 2012: A Conversation of Race & Politics in America” online.**

10 thoughts on “America the Beautiful

  1. Jon says:

    One of the things your piece brings to light is that the idea of being proud of being American is something that the Republicans used to claim as their motto, and sometimes sang jingo-ist songs about it (“proud to be an american, where at least I know I’m free”), as if this were the only free country on earth. It’s a relief to be able to claim our own in saying I’m proud to be an American — and to proclaim that this idea doesn’t need to refer to the closed chauvinist attitudes that some have meant it represent. To be able to wave the flag and have it represent something meaningful (rather than offensive) to us is quite a gift that Obama may give us (and to a large degree, already has).

    Like

    1. SomerEmpress says:

      Something meaningful…yes! Jon, as always, thank you for reading and for adding such beautiful insight. Like you, “I, Too, Sing America“, and “I’m Proud to be an American“. I’m happily recasting that tune which has made such an indelible impression in the soundtrack of this country, to include the other authentic American elements that I offer, which aren’t white, male, or even Republican. 🙂

      Like

  2. Coco Rivers says:

    Hi A,

    As usually, you delve into the deep of things. I dig that about you :). Interestingly enough, I agree with you and disagree with you. For me, this election, has done more than reveal the polarity in our nation which many of us like to take as faceless lot of strangers who merely hold a different set of beliefs. It has revealed the widening gap in core beliefs shared between myself and some who were closest to me. It was kind of shocking and deeply disturbing.

    Disturbing because while I embrace and respect differing ideologies, it’s clear to me that many of the GOP policies fail to take into account the struggles of the average person and issues which are dearest to us. Those who are so seemingly cavalier and sanguine share a common trait, there lives have been largely untouched by catastrophic events and this allows them to operate in a bubble. A big, selfish bubble that is anathema to the common good. I can’t bring myself to respect a stance that is so self serving and seems hell bent on flying in the faces of facts. In fact, it smacks of intellectual laziness.

    It bothers me so deeply that I have considered severing, or severely limiting some relationships as a result. This runs smack up against my belief system and allowing for people with varying ideas into my personal space. I guess one could say I am confilcted. Working on it 🙂

    That said, I am proud and happy to be American for all the reasons you so eloquently articlated above.

    Like

    1. SomerEmpress says:

      Hey Coco, thanks for chiming in. I always appreciate your candor. In fact, that’s what this opener is supposed to do – get folks talking candidly, yet civilly. I think we’re more aligned than you think, actually. Bear with me…

      I have zero tolerance for the GOP and their insistence in “taking back the White House”, or “going back to the good old days”. Those phrases are code for returning to a time that was never good for Blacks, Latinos, women, or otherwise underrepresented groups in America. I have had to make a conscientious effort to not respond to some of the side-jabs from people whom I’ve considered friends (former co-workers and even some family members) about my support for President Obama, as if somehow I have lost my footing, values, religion, or ability to make rational decisions based on fact, not fear, because I don’t agree with their candidates or platforms. That they would challenge me because they’ve assumed that I support POTUS Obama primarily because of his race is not only insulting to my intelligence, but a confirmation that they never knew or wanted to know or embrace me in the first place. So you know what I say to that? Be Well, and So Long. Deuces!

      Like

    2. SomerEmpress says:

      P.S. Coco, I just thought of this (while here making a hat): we all fundamentally want the same things, but it seems that some of us want even more…to keep for ourselves, even if it means our fellow brothers and sisters go without. 🙂

      Like

  3. kmvwhiz@aol.com says:

    Having Technical Issues so not fully functional yet with this yet but I Love what I have read so far and hope to be able to join the conversation fully when I figure this out. I have an idea that the main problem I have is that my computer skills are not anywhere near your level of excellence. This would probably be due to the huge generational gap that exists between us. I am constantly amazed by how well those of a younger generation can do with their computers. It is kind of like I came from the dark ages or something. I will try to get up to speed ASAP but don’t be surprised if I am unable to keep up! Sincerely, Kathryn

    Like

    1. SomerEmpress says:

      Kathryn, I look forward to hearing from you.

      Like

  4. scribe312 says:

    Profound words. When America becomes One Nation Under God again, then will we be united.

    Like

    1. SomerEmpress says:

      Yvonne, thanks for adding your lovely voice to the conversation. 🙂 What exactly does it mean to be “One nation under God?” I’ve heard that phrase numerous times from many a’ folk that didn’t necessarily have my best interest at heart, or the concerns of the majority of America, for that matter.

      With that being said, is this the same as all of America having to share the same religion or religious views? What about those who don’t subscribe to religion at all? Are we all doomed to remain divided as a nation based on the distinction of religion and/or “belief” alone?

      Like

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