Friday, May 22, 2009

Defining America

Schotts has a 'define America' post going for Memorial Day and invites comments. In between the claptrap, we find some interesting ones... 

"America was a natural utopia that belonged to a group of natives. “We The People” felt it was too valuable to continue to be “their land.” In order to further develop this land we permitted “slaves” to enjoy it using their sweat to help it grow. Over the years immigrants sought to take advantage of its promise. We became rich, powerful, warlike and arrogant. We created bitter divisions between races, religions, and classes — in fact, anything where disagreement is possible we came down on all four sides. America was, in reality, a dream called “Humpty Dumpty” yet if people ever could understand (with empathy) what it could be — we could put it together again." — E V (Gene) Keith
We are a country defined by the two traits along the same spectrum - hope and amnesia. We are a country whose institutions have thrived despite the traumas of slavery, civil war, the genocide of Native peoples, world wars, the Cold War, and social revolution. By allowing ourselves to forget many of the ghosts of these events, we have remained strangely optimistic about a future we have the power to control yet with little power to understand. Our greatest threat as a nation may be history’s habit of repeating. — T. Connelly
America is Le détour grand - an orange, blinking diversion on the trip from human misery to human perfection. We know we’ll get there, the signs tell us so, but the potholes nevertheless make us doubt as we press the accelerator, uncertain but exhilarated! - Jesse Chandler

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