Saturday, February 19, 2011


I have a confession. I'm rather embarrassed to be an American these days.  I don't really talk politics.  Like, ever.  It hurts too much, quite frankly.  Republicans calling Democrats a bunch of heartless, anti-American Socialists.  Democrats calling Republicans a bunch of fear-mongering Palin-lovers.  When I look at my Twitter feed or pop on over to CNN, my heart just hurts.  The name-calling.  The blanket assumptions.  The hate. Oh, my! The hate! 

This is not the country my Pappap fought for over 65 years ago.  This is not the country he spent being a POW for over 2 years for.  This is not the country he returned to weighing only 98 pounds.

My grandfather passed away over a decade ago.  But I see his face every time I see Americans acting hateful. I see his face looking sad.  I see his face crying.  I see his face, his head shaking because today Americans just don't get it.  I'm glad, though, that he doesn't have to see what this country has come to.  The hate.  The name-calling.  The outrageous assumptions, presumptions, lying, and rumor-spreading.  The lack of respect for our fellow countrymen and women, regardless of political affiliation, gender, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, etc.  I would never want my Pappap to see any of this.

I'm a liberal.  My parents are staunch conservatives.  We disagree on a lot of things. 
I'm Catholic.  So are my parents.  We disagree about a lot of things within the Church.
I'm a feminist.  My parents don't really know what that means.  But I admire and respect men.
I'm an intellectual.  Nobody else in my family holds a master's degree.  But I will always put human beings before intellectual pursuits.

And yet, I don't spew hate.  I don't put people down.  I don't embrace prejudice, separatism, or elitism.  I don't say this to make myself sound fantastic.  I say this because it's possible to believe and embrace things that are different from what other people believe and embrace, and still exude love.

It is possible.

I don't know why so many people in our country behave as though it's not.

{Would you look at that.  I'm talkin' politics.}

Even when people say things in a joking way, they're still saying those things.  Those things that cause friction, disruption between countrymen and women,  hate among fellow humans.  And it breaks my heart.  I don't want to be a part of that.  Ever. 

Perhaps I'm too optimistic.  Perhaps I'm naive.  Perhaps I haven't encountered people who would cause a change in me that would have me behave badly.  I don't know.  But I do know that love and kindness are the only things I ever want to be associated with.  Because that was what my Pappap did.  He lived love and kindness.  He fought for our country (and, yes, he probably did things during the war that I don't want to know about).  But when he came back, he was love.  He was integrity.  He was acceptance.

I want to be a verb like my Pappap.  To live in action and words and thoughts what it means to be love.  I want to be proud to be an American again, but I don't know how.  I want to help people learn to love each other, even through disagreements, even through differences, even through hardship.  That is all I want. 

What is it that you want?

with love from Pittsburgh,
{The frayed flag above makes my heart hurt. You can find it here via ffffound.}

4 lovely bits o' feedback.:

This Girl said...

I will gladly SECOND this entire post. I, too, am a liberal (a term I hate but quite honestly the only one I am comfortable with) and completely abhor the grade school name calling in-fighting and bile that has become our political system. It IS embarrassing. For the strongest nation in the world that is supposed to be the benchmark for democracy & freedom we sure do spend a solid amount of time doing everything we can to undermine the freedoms of each other and fighting like toddlers in a sandbox.

I find it confusing. You would sincerely think, and maybe I am as naive as you on this, that as adults in the year 2011 we would have found a way to openly communicate and work out issues to the benefit of the greater good.

I sincerely hope that this is the beginning. That all this negative anger and fighting is the beginning if a movement to bring logic back into governing and the basic principals of right vs wrong.

Lord only knows how many decades it will take to make a significant change, it took 100 years to get here, it sure as hell is going to take a nice chunk of time to fix it...I just hope I am still alive to see it happen.

And maybe someday it will be about discourse for a common goal instead of spewing hate to drive more divisions between our varied people & beliefs. Hope.

Uncle Crappy said...

You're not talking politics. You're just talking common sense.

Lynnetta said...

I totally agree with you Laura. I have had to block people from my Facebook feed because all they do is spread hatred and negativity. When something positive does's all "in your face republicans" or "in your face liberals". HOW is that constructive?

My dad's sister and my mom are on complete opposite ends of the political spectrum but I tell them that they are exactly alike. They are both super supportive of their political beliefs and get very defensive any time someone tries to question said beliefs. It's very difficult to have them in the same room together. They blame each other's political parties for the troubles in our country. And they are both guilty of your comment regarding making jokes that cause friction.

It's so tiring, frustrating and aggravating that we can't all just get along! So I try to stay far away from political discussions because it they usually only lead to anger, name calling and hate.

David McGivern said...

Totally agree with your post. A lot of people only want to hear what they already agree with. We need some more common sense. Great blog!