After having seen both political conventions this election year, it isn’t hard to be a little confused as to what kind of country America lives in. On the one hand, we are deep within the quagmire of desolation and destruction, brewed from a populace that has lost its way from glorious yesteryears. On the other, sure we have a few bumps or scrapes on us, but remain with us as the other side is waiting to hurl firebolts at freedom’s light beckoning from the hilltop. Of course, this sort of discourse, in the context of political conventions, whereby the current losing party states everything has gone wrong as the ruling party glories in its accomplishments that will only be furthered solidified by being granted four more years of power, is rather typical. What is not as much, is the fact that many of us so very deeply believe that we are in one or another of these Americas. We stand ready to commence the battle of two competing armies ensconced away from no man’s lands of compromise.
As a self-styled iconoclast, allow me to stand between the barbed wire and shellfire for a minute here.
The America I know is deeply flawed. We continue to fight over who may participate in the highs of true love. So many of us battle food shortages from wages clothed in steeled rigidity from necessary heights. We watch fear rule the airwaves as terror births both international and domestic. The echoes of hair-trigger decisions boom from the hungry mouths of steel destruction wielded in increasingly murkier circumstances. We challenge the uniqueness of weather patterns outside while huddling in dark indoor enclaves to grow ever-increasing hordes of digital admirers. And the protestor is left standing upon the ruins of the cavernous great hall as the poster board waves for the ghost of empathetic understanding.
The America I know is also fantastic. The Muslim’s Mohammed can stand with the Christian’s Jesus as fireworks burst from the celebration of a new year’s beginning. We highlight displays of charity born from pure hearts. We can gather to partake in collective joy for the byproducts of those granted leave to fly amongst the skies of undaunted imaginations. Technology brings the strange and the familiar ever closer to kissing shores. And the message boards are free to collect the rants, ravings, and aphorisms of a collected citizenship struggling for understanding and a place at the table.
And in the end, the America formed is one that has the freedom to show the depths of how terrible we can be. In history’s critical eye, we are teens amidst the adults of the world’s formation. We are not the originators of freedom but the product of its desire. Our struggles are testament to the pangs of growing maturity. America was born from struggle, and struggle is what we shall forever be saddled with. We are not two Americas. We are not one America. We are a country that will be forever gripped with multiple identity composition. America is but a member of the hypothesis to an experiment in the depths of humanity’s capacity at evolution. For revolution in feeling and fact, in action and inaction, comes from the ability to build upon the needle so it may scrawl wider and wider the circle of shared collusion in a better mankind. We may spin for a time aimless or backwards in direction but our salvation comes from embracing separations that may yet form improved passage towards collected collaboration. The tapestry formed may always struggle with its color, composition, size, or shape but must always continue to work towards combined determination that its use shall work to warm and provide comfort to all who reach for it.