Anyone want to talk about it?
I’m an American millennial, raised on stories of people huddling around tv sets to watch the first space flights. All my life, I’ve been told by those people that we should be proud to be American, grateful to be born here.
I think I’ve always fought with mixed feelings about that.
You know my generation didn’t have space flights. We didn’t have the unity of innovation, discovery. We don’t have the American dream, not covered in this much medical and student loan debt. Our first “huddle around the tv” moment was the felling of the Twin Towers. I was in kindergarten, and began my education in patriotism and Americanisms not just on that day, but the weeks after.
I wish, so desperately, that we had science binding us together. That we encouraged the most critical thinkers, the adolescent geniuses studying physics to save their families from failing coal towns. What I got was different, was lessons in terrorism and brainwashing, in turning away from the educated to embrace the cowboys of the world. The ones with the guns, who talk louder and have simpler things to say.
I want America to succeed. I know the “true patriots” won’t like any of what I just said. But I do believe in this country, despite all that’s happened.
I just don’t entirely know why anymore.
Watching the House vote on Impeaching President Trump, for the second time, brings up a lot of emotions for me.
I imagine it’s that way for most people. Finding someone neutral on this subject would be a feat, in honesty. But it bothers me how conflicting these are for me. In turns, revolving, I find myself:
- Optimistic. It seems, finally, that the actions and words thrown so carelessly around for decades could have consequences. That the Trump strategy (not unique to him) of acting more ludicrously and offensively each day after the next could stop bringing him fame, money, and success. That he can’t distract us from a previous scandal with a new one. That there could be consequences and fair application of law.
- Bitter. There is a part of me that feels this is too little, too late. The part that never quite recovered from being shocked that he was elected at all. The part that stares at medical bills turning into credit card debt just a little too long. The part that feels betrayed by this country too many times in my short adult life so far. How will they find a way to fail me this time?
- Passionate. Justice feels so close, for the first time. Could it be possible? Can the law be applied evenly? Will it apply to these white men, the kind who truly believed they could just walk back into their normal lives after breaking, robbing, and using weapons to express themselves? Can we take control back from the loudest voices, to the coolest heads again?
- Bored. The votes go on forever, don’t they? I spent an hour with a procedural vote I still don’t understand happening in the background. I don’t know if I find it comforting or alarming that this is how democracy works. How has it taken a week to vote on this? Seven nights of sleeping in the presidential bed, of controlling the military, of having the rights to pardon those who don’t deserve it? Seven days until we tried?
I don’t know how to find steady ground. My relationship with patriotism has always been tumultuous, too hot and too cold all at once. Is this how it really is supposed to be?
I have no way to know.