Friday, October 31, 2008

My piece of Real America

I don't shop at Walmart, but I do shop at Target.
I went to my brother's wedding to his partner last month. They've been together almost as long as me and Geekboy have been together. They love each other. I cried at their wedding.
I live in a red state.
Another brother just got transferred to a different military base. We're hoping that he'll be there for the rest of his hitch. He's served two tours in Iraq already. He's got twin girls on the way. I'd like him to be there for their birth.
I fired a gun before I learned how to drive. My dad belongs to the NRA. We were taught to respect firearms. Cooper won't have toy guys because guns aren't toys. He'll get his first gun, from his grandfather, when he's 12.
He already has his "reduce, reuse, recycle" sippy cup.
I know that you pay someone when you receive a knife as a gift.
My mom bakes her own bread, grows her own tomatoes, and wore birkenstocks before they were cool.
My parents live in a blue state.
I love the Constitution. If I was to name a daughter Madison, it would be after James, not after Splash.
I've eaten moose that was killed by a family member.
I've seen Rent, Les Mis and Phantom of the Opera multiple times. I'm asking for tickets to Wicked for my Birthday.
The first gulf war started on my 15th birthday. I remember because my oldest brother was on the front lines. We turned off the news long enough for me to open presents and then the news stayed on for the next three months straight.
That's when I remember my mom turning grey.
My sister and her husband have adopted four kids, two out of the foster care system. They live in a blue state.
My brother is raising his son after a nasty divorce. He lives in a red state.
My gay brother is a Republican.
So is his partner.
My sister chose to keep her baby and raise her daughter herself, and has turned out a beautiful talented wonderful teenager. They live in a blue state.
I believe in God. I go to church every week. I pray. I stand up when the flag goes by in a parade. I know there is more than one verse to the national anthem. I celebrate the Marine Corps birthday.
I give to charities for Christmas and birthday presents for family members, because there are so many more people in the world who need, where we only want.
That's my piece of America. It's a good piece. It looks like the America that my neighbors and friends know and live in more than the "real America" that gets used as a rhetorical weapon on the campaign trail.
I don't know the America where we hate each other. I don't know the America where we are scared of each other. That's never been my piece of America. I hope it never is.

3 comments:

Cyn said...

That was beautiful.

(Moose and deer meat are all that is in my freezer.)

Jon92027 said...

Thanks, that made my cry a little bit, BTW, I showed it to my husband, I like the sound of that word, and he forwarded it on to Andrew Sullivan. Love You

Ken and Belly said...

My dad got his first Elk license this year after 10 years of trying in the state lottery. I'm SO jealous that I don't get any for my freezer. I grew up with deer meat-- my dad, mom, and brother all hunt. I, took a gun safety course before I got my drivers license (at 14!) and my child(ren?) will never have guns as toys either, though they will surely be taught about them when we visit my parents. So, our pieces of America are similar in some ways-- interesting how it's translated into academic interests!

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