I was raised a redneck. Cowboy boots, cowboy hat, misty-eyed when the stars and stripes fly, listening to Hank Williams, George Jones, ZZ Top, hunting and fishing on Saturdays and church every Sunday. If you want to define Redneck as a honorable, patriotic,white, Christian, working-class individual, I'm ok with that. I define white trash as the bigoted, ignorant, sexist side of growing up white in America. The point is, I was raised to love my country.
I remember when I was about 20 I met a man who had been a missionary to another country, and he said something that really troubled me. He said he did not think of himself as a citizen of the United States of America, as much as he considered himself a citizen of the World. At first I thought he was either a communist, nuts or both.
But now I know what he means. Anyone who has grown up here was told we are the best country in the world. We are told, especially during this time of year, that our economy is the envy of the world, and that we are a shining example of freedom and democracy to the rest of the world. I have visited at least half of this country, it's a great place, but we have a lot to improve. There are a lot of people on the edge of poverty, one check away from being homeless, with no hope for the future. I've actually been one of them, so have my parents. I've made too much money to get assistance, but not enough to pay my rent.
Sometimes when I hear the political rhetoric from both sides, I remember a saying I heard from a friend from New Jersey: "Don't piss on me and then tell me its raining."
I love my country, and believe this is an amazing place with great people and a great form of government. I would fight for my country if I was drafted, it is a place worth fighting for. But to say America is the best country in the world is a little hard to swallow. No country can be the best in every way, that's impossible. I have been to other countries, and we don't have it all together and could learn from other countries.
The way some of my countrymen talk, you'd think that nobody else in the world loved their country as much as us. I often wonder how the rest of the world sees us. I've talked to Canadians, Mexicans, Costa Ricans, Taiwanese, Koreans, Chileans, Britons, and others. I get the impression they aren't as impressed with us as we think they are. To simply dismiss all negative opinions about America as "jealousy" or "ignorance" is misguided at best.
I'm not trying to join the "Bad-Mouth-America-Fest", not by any sense of the word. I'm just hoping I can be one of the voices calling for us to stop only listening to our own press and small-minded opinions, and think outside of this red white and blue box our politics has wrapped us up in.
Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.
By Rage Against The Machine