Still... I’m proud to be an American
The recent election season shook me to my core. There has not been, in my recollection or lifetime, an election more exhausting and divisive. I don’t handle conflict well; it settles into my bones and affects my whole body, makes me anxious and ill. It ties my stomach in knots and makes my head hurt. And that’s the way I felt for many weeks, leading up to the election. I didn’t want to watch the news on TV, and I didn’t want to NOT watch the news. All the angry, negative rhetoric seemed to work its way under my skin and fill me with angst. I wasn’t pleased with or supportive of either presidential candidate, regardless of party affiliation.
And speaking of party affiliation, I really don’t align with either side anymore. Neither side wants to budge in passing anything in the legislature, whether state or nationally. They don’t work together; they all want it “my way or not at all.” They can’t seem to agree on even the smallest things, but there are major issues to be dealt with.
This was not an election to be proud of and certainly not an election to feel good about—before, during, or in the time since—regardless of who you voted for. And, to be truthful, there were days when I was not always proud to be an American. There were times when I wondered what other countries around the world were thinking of us, U.S. We live in the “United States;” I just wish we were more united and not just states.
The year 2020 will make a very interesting historical book, but it will no doubt need to be covered in several volumes; putting the story of 2020 into one book would make it far too large to carry. How often do you just stop and think of everything that has happened in 2020? The coronavirus was the top story, and then racial injustice was the top story, and the toppling of historic icons and their statues was the top story, and of course, running in and about and through all those top stories was the 2020 campaign and the incessant ad-bashing, which was always the top story. Think about how much our personal lives changed, with regard to schools, businesses, churches, shopping, and any events, even getting together with your own family, spectator sports, traveling—you name it... it has been affected. No wonder we are exhausted and disgusted and hard to live with. It’s just all too much.
But the really sad news is, it’s far from over. Oh, the year 2020 is about over, but not a single one of this year’s “top stories” is resolved. We are going to carry over into 2021 many of the same issues as we have dealt with in 2020 (except for campaign ads!), starting out with a “virtual” ball drop in Times Square to usher in 2021.
If I sound pessimistic and depressed, well, that’s probably more true than I’d like to admit. But I don’t want to be this way, because truly I am proud to be an American. I am proud to fly the beautiful flag of the U.S.A. at the home I am fortunate to own, in a wonderful small town in America where I am blessed to live, and nothing or nobody will change that. And that’s what keeps me going, keeps me working, gives me a reason to get up each day, love my family, friends and neighbors. I am able to thank God daily for my blessings and freedoms. And even if we disagree on little stuff and big stuff, I’ve still got your back. I will still do whatever I can to make this world a better place, starting with my own small corner.
So through it all, ringing in my head is Lee Greenwood, singing: “I thank my lucky stars to be living here today, ‘cause the flag still stands for freedom, and they can’t take that away! And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free; and I won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me. And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend Her still today, ‘cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land... God Bless the U.S.A.”