Recently, I had a discussion with a Canadian lifting friend after she Twittered that America is a Shithole. I Twittered back that I love my country and she countered with something along the lines of, “You can still love your country and be ashamed of it.”
In general, I don’t shame. I hate the word quite honestly most likely due to the fact that I heard it a lot growing up. I remember dating a man when my twins were younger who grabbed Zac and said he was so ashamed of him for some type of behavior that while probably wasn’t awesome, was still toddler appropriate (toddlers can be dicks…change my mind.) That happened once. And only once.
I have felt ashamed in life. Gawds know I deserved to feel ashamed. I’ve had moments of complete failure as a compassionate human being. I have had moments of complete failure as a mother and even with apologies, I’ll take those failures to my grave. There is no amount of external feedback that can make me feel worse than what I do to myself when I know I’ve fucked up. I don’t live on others shame meter, I have my own and anyone who knows me well understands that the standards I hold myself to are far more intense than what can come at me in a Twitter conversation.
That said, I do not feel shame for something I didn’t do. As hard as I can be on myself, I can be equally dismissive when people try to lay their shit at my feet and expect me to take it on. Nope. NoNoNo. Not gonna happen. Sorry not sorry. Because of that, it’s likely I can come off as cold or uncaring. Remember that time I said sorry not sorry? Yeah, same. I wasted way too many years of my young life worrying about what others thought (which is categorically different, by the way, than not caring about how my actions actually affect others. Fucking duh) to worry now. Besides that, so many people are void of logic and reason that I’d be playing the part of a pinball if I even tried to follow what others are caring about in a particular moment of a particular day. (Morals and values, try it sometime. They don’t tend to change so people know exactly what to expect.)
So here’s how this works, if President Trump tweets something, I don’t care. I don’t follow him. I don’t have an agonizing emotional reaction. Doesn’t affect me in any way whatsoever. If the current Administration enacts policy that I disagree with to the point that I feel strongly about it, I’ll write to Senator Ron Johnson (Tammy Baldwin is pretty busy with her cronies in California so I won’t bother her. Besides, if she throws Veterans under the bus, what the hell is she going to do for me?) I may tweet about it but I’m pretty busy on the Tweets following Minnesota sports teams that I can’t watch locally. That’s it.
Secondly, I love my country. I am a proud American. I’ve kind of felt like an outsider here in heavy liberal ‘Tosa where I’m bombarded with all the ways I should be put out by Trump and his nazi deplorables (uhhhh, I’m one I guess) but last month the hubs, Ozman, and I went to Texas for a wedding. The instant we left the airport (I’d still prefer to head out the North entrance instead of driving all around Ft. Worth to get back to the road heading to Wichita Falls but had we done that I’d have missed what I’m writing about here) it was clear that we were in the land of proud Americans and proud Texans. I rolled down the window and just took in the fresh smell of patriotism.
Texas sized American and Texas flags flying big and boldly. I tell ya what, there is something about Texans that I love (being one and all y’all) that I lost sight of when my Texas experience shortly turned so sour and unhealthy that I realized I’d just bunched up the whole ball of shit in my head and forgot about the good stuff of being Texan. To be in an entire state where folks (generally) seem to love their country was good for my soul. A little re-setting of standing as a proud American.
Anyways, back to the Shithole comment from my lovely Canadian friend. Now, I am not going to deny that America has shithole neighborhoods. I’ve seen some of them; have been lost in some of them; and live in a city where we’re close enough to one that we feel it’s crime spilling over to our driveway. Do I feel ashamed of those neighborhoods? Uhhhhh, no. Why would I? Am I disappointed they exist, uhhhh ya, I’m not a complete bitch. Do I blame Trump for them?Uhhhhhh, no, why would I? (My main argument to those who are outraged on a daily basis of Trump is that local politicians wield far more power over their daily lives than Washington, in general. Go be outraged at your city hall.)
Is America a shithole as a whole? I don’t know, I mean, I don’t believe that to be truthful but there could actually be people here who believe it so I don’t know if my opinion is more better than theirs, just different. Both of us could probably find a bunch of “facts” to argue on the internet for days. But I can’t do that, I’m busy loving my life with my hot hunky husband and my children and friends.
Shame. Back to the part where she wanted me to feel ashamed of my country. First off, why? I mean, really, who cares what I think or feel. Especially on the internet. Why? What have I done to feel ashamed about? I do support border control (at all costs really) and fully comprehend that puts me on the “other side” of an argument. So what? Is that enough to change what someone is having for lunch today? Gawds I doubt it. Why does someone else want me to feel shame for something? I can’t even get my head around that one.
And OHBYTHEWAY, addressing the giant bald eagle in the room, uhhhh, dude; you live in Canada. You, of course, can have the opinion that America is a shithole and then go right back to watching your CBC to see how your PM is embarrassing you around the world that particular day. I have been so curious these last two years why some Canadians have such intense hatred for Donald Trump. Especially in regards to immigration and border control (Dear Cunucks: your border agents are some of the biggest assholes I’ve ever had to deal with while traveling in my life. I blame Trudeau. Heh, but not really.)
I’m okay with someone having an opinion about America, kind of the point of America in the first place. Yes? What I will react to (albeit 7 weeks later) is telling me I should feel ashamed of my country. For me, that crosses a line of decency among friendly acquaintances. Disagreement is fine, telling someone how to feel is manipulative and hateful. Those are two traits I don’t allow into my life (ask any relative in Minnesota.) Telling me I should feel ashamed of my country ends that friendly acquaintance. Not because I disagree with you (I do that all the time and still manage to live a happy life) but because when you turn into someone who tried to virtue signal bully me, well, you’ll get the same result as Lynda and Pastor John (and a few asshole bosses in my past) got, silence. You’re out. I’m too busy over here surrounding myself with awesome people who are comfortable in disagreement without telling me how I should feel because their opinion is superior and the final say in life.
My son, Oscar, has already delay-enlisted in the US Army. He’s been sworn in (three times actually. He’s like the token swearing in kid who will jump at every chance to participate in a ceremony that means so much to him. Also, I’ve missed every swearing in. Bad mom) and has taken this job specifically because he wants to serve his country. I did that. I instilled a love of country to my son. Good mom. All three of my children voted this year for the first time ever because they can and they all saw how important it was. I know it sounds as if I’m bragging about that because I am. I am proud as fuck of them and their rights to be a part of this democratic republic. One of our local elections came down to 21 votes and three came from this house (that is until our election official miraculously found an extra two boxes of votes and the other guy one. Funny how that happened all over Wisconsin and the country this year.)
I’m not going to be ashamed of America. Ever. Even if you want me to be.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.