Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Loving and Leaving

While my wife and I were courting, I wrote a poem for her. It included the line, "You can come and go in my life." It was my mildly plagiarized version of the old trope about "if you love something, set it free." Supposedly if you let that something or someone go and they don't find their way back to you then they were never yours in the first place. It's a great way to test your relationship skills. If you mean it,t hen you should be fine with departures and arrivals of all sorts. It is generally a good idea to maintain this position even if you aren't fully able to maintain it, since the desperate clingy thing is even harder to make work over time.
That being said, I found myself applying this idea to my relationship with my country. I hear voices these days raging on like I haven't heard in decades: "America, love it or leave it." And so we find ourselves with this very intriguing problem. There are plenty of us who have a deep and abiding love for this country but really wish that there were some things that could be different. :Yes, I understand there are marriages that have broken up over the position of the toilet seat, but these were not destined to stand the test of time anyway. Sooner or later there would have to be a discussion about the Netflix queue or what color to paint the baby's room. Basic problem-solving skills suggest that a closed mindset will eventually leave little or no room for negotiation.
Then there's the matter of those who might love our country and decide they would really like to come here to share in all the love, but since they come from one of those countries that have been determined by some bad screenwriter to be breeding grounds for terrorists, sorry. No green card for you. If there happened to be a recruitment center for ISIS in one of those strip malls in Yemen, I imagine the first few people in line were the ones spurned by their red, white and blue love interest.
While we're on the subject of love, I understand that this "In God We Trust" and "One Nation Under God" stuff tends to dull our insistence on freedom of religion and the separation of church and state, but until the paint-by-numbers crew start rewriting the Constitution, we are still a nation founded in large part by pilgrims escaping religious persecution. They were looking for that city on a hill, and it seems we still are.
And so I find myself wondering why, when faced with all that terror and strife that existed here in America over the last eight years, those who were so repulsed by what was happening in America didn't follow their own advice? Maybe because we're the country that will put up with that kind of jingoism and chest-thumping rhetoric. The kind of thing that folks from other countries look at in wonder. And we just wish they would remember to flush.

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