Wednesday, April 8, 2009
We all know that Americans don’t exactly have the best reputation abroad. I think any American, no matter how proud they are to be one, has to admit that many of the stereotypes are right on the money. We can be too loud, too materialistic, too overweight, too greedy…we can just be “too much”. Our values are always under debate...the Middle East views us as the one true threat to a moral world and Europeans think we are ridiculously too conservative and always kowtowing to the religious right. Either way we are still seen as the leader of the Free World and with such comes great responsibility.
During the dark ages, by which I mean the 8 painful years Bush and Cheney were in office, I felt so ashamed to be American…so distant from what my country stood for, what they fought for and how they treated both its own citizens and other people around the world.
If we would have left a year ago I would have outfitted both of us with shirts, jackets, scarves, hats and anything else I could have found that had a Canadian maple leaf branded on it. But with our new leader comes new hope and a new pride…or an old pride that I just hadn’t felt in a very long time.
There is nothing like living abroad to make you miss American liberties and perks...like sewer systems that can handle toilet paper, the FDA (hey, don’t knock them until you live in a country where everything you eat has the potential to send you to a hospital), policemen you trust instead of fear, water that won't give you parasites, fabric softener, drivers who at least pretend to follow traffic rules, our great diversity but most of all our rights and our freedoms.
As an American, I have been guilty of taking a lot of our freedoms and rights for granted. But, as a gay American I know what is like to be denied rights and what it is like to fight for them as well.
I know there is a long road ahead to true equality in our country but we’ve shortened the distance quite a bit in the past week with marriage rights both in Vermont and Iowa and hopefully recognition of those rights in DC.
I can’t begin to describe how proud I am of my country when I see it making such strides in returning to our goal of “liberty and justice for all”.
So, if you start seeing pictures of me in "I love the USA" shirts, hats, jackets and scarves don’t be surprised.
Posted by MAV at 10:27 AM