Archive for February, 2008

February 19, 2008

An Accidental Patriot: My life as secret American anarchist

Its the midst of another political season, a presidential election, the top in the United States of America and I am some lower echelon government relations hack. Do you even know what that means? I am some message lackey for the most average of the citizenry and a few foreign national as well. Here I am middle aging woman enjoying my beer. So what is this about – its about how much I love this damn country. Yes the USA and I might say that hate it tomorrow but the secret is that I am a sickening patriot at my core and nothing can change that.

All of us must know what it is like, there is this feeling of complete relief that overcomes one upon returning to the US from abroad. As an American who has only left the US a few times, I still am not used to the conditions of any other country.  I’ve been to Germany, Canada and Mexico. Its kind of ridiculous I admit, but traveling abroad is grueling enough, but its worse because when you arrive at chosen destination you can’t drink the water, your money isn’t worth shit, the food sucks, and who can understand their cultural predisposition for elaborate displays of meat.

Perhaps these feelings make me parochial. Ok so I’m rustic, but you can feel it too, this sense of incredible privilege and safety. Here in the US where the electricity stays on all day and night, and you don’t have to share bathrooms or buy toliet paper by the sheet from the bathroom attendant. The citizen to law enforcement ratio seems much higher outside the states, except I don’t remember about Canada since I was only 6 yrs old.

I do remember the geodesic dome, at Expo 67 in Montreal and also a French rock concert it was all very exotic when I was six.  Even then, I sensed that immense relief when we pulled into our driveway in Shawnee, Kansas.

When you come home to the US you have an incredible feeling of safety and belonging because you know where the hospital is and how to buy gas. You forget about the economic inequity, ABSCAM and Enron, Iraq and Iraq II, the subprime mess and homegrown terrorism- tax rates and STDs, and global warming – YOU FORGET – The US is incredibly beautiful and wholesome, efficient and clean, comfortable and accommodating. The universe is safe – you are safe – you are home – God Bless the USA.

This feeling of home is the basis of my story. This politically incorrect feeling of complete and utter nationalism, unbridled pride, it almost lustful the way I feel. Yes you need to know that because my whole story started at the moment when I truly understood how naive I am – and how much my world is changing without my consent or even consideration.

I like to walk around Washington DC no matter how much my feet hurt. Sometimes I bring extra shoes. Other times I regret not bringing extra shoes but I still walk. You must walk in DC to experience the scale of a true world capital. The immense size projects an energy of incredible power and strength. From the capitol to the Washington Monument to the Pentagon there is an uninterrupted series of edifices that some of the worlds great historic events occurred.  The LBJ room in the Senate wing, the Supreme Court and the National Archives, the Library of Congress, our common history is part of the air you breathe and the cement you tread while in that great city.

I walk in DC because, well everyone walks – and no matter  how many trains I miss, subway stops i miss or get off in the wrong place I still walk when I have time.   Once you get off the train at Union Station its cab, Metro, bus or walk – and if you are going up to the hill then most of us walk unless the weathers brutal.  Its this walking in the capital, absorbing the energy of the city and its inhabitants is another source of my deep national pride. You cannot be among the great leaders and their great cities and not be in awe.

Yes this walking then brings me back to Union Station after my meetings and greetings. There are the shops, White House Black Market, and Aerosoles, and others but I like the bar with the Latino bartender and interesting clientele.  My capitol, my country and my identity are so much a part of each day.

More than anything it is the intense diversity of our people that makes the US amazing. Thanks you forefathers – its a privilege being your citizen descendants.