Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Being An American In 2018

I was always taught to be proud of where you're from, and so from the time I was old enough to understand, I had a certain appreciation for America. Sophomore year of high school we dug deep into Ellis Island and the rich history of culture. It wasn't the first time I'd learned about it, of course, but the first time I truly understood. Everyone who docked onto the Island was coming here in search of a better life, the American dream. The textbooks don't always teach the not so pretty side of our history, however, nor the present. 

Over the years I began to grow weary of hearing the stories of how we came to be this "great America." & then the floodgates opened when social media became a thing and we had instant access to all the horrid news coming out of our own territory. How could it still be happening? How does history keep repeating itself? I'll admit it's become more & more difficult to be proud of this country. How could I be proud of something so broken? 

It seems a bit hypocritical to be fighting for change & growth and then turn around and say ‘I love it here!’ Though the country’s innate obsession with patriotism and ‘guns & freedom!’ is still baffling to me, I’m starting to wonder if maybe we can be disappointed and fight for betterness and change while still appreciating certain aspects of where we come from. 

However, I also recognize my privilege in this as I am a white, middle class American who’s never had the system fail me like it has failed POCs, and I can’t speak for them. We are a country in progress that right now feels like step zero, back to the drawing board let’s just forget everything kinda work in progress. It’s a hard thing to be able to feel like we can appreciate or be proud of. I, for one, am not one bit proud of our current administration. 

But, we all have one thing in common: we are fighting for a better life, if not for ourselves, for those around us. We have common ground in that. Maybe that’s what makes this country beautiful. We are built on different cultures and colors (no matter what the president says) with voices loud and clear: We’re not going anywhere, so you might as well get used to it. 


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