I’m not a historian and I am not a sociologist. I am a 69-year-old American man who loves his country.My love for my country has diddly-squat to do with political parties. I love my country the way one loves a family member. How come? Simple. My country is family.
For me, it’s about being American, not being an American. Someone can be an American. That doesn’t mean they are behaving American, behaving, like an American.
Being American has nothing at all to do with politics or political parties. Sometimes our political parties are in healthy places, sometimes they’re not. How come? They’re run by people! (Smile.)
I think we can all agree that none of us has ever witnessed or experienced a perfect person. A perfect human being. Ain’t no such thing. This means anything folks design and create, doing so with all the best of intentions, will be imperfect, and that’s both okay, and important to remember. Political parties and so much more are created by people and so they are imperfect.
There is no imperfection at all in my love for my country and being American.
My father was a World War II veteran. He was in the Army’s 20th Armored Division. It seemed all the father’s where I grew up had fought in World War II. One friend’s father was in the Navy at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked by the Japanese on Sunday, December 7, 1941. Another friend’s dad was in the Battle of Midway, a major naval battle that went on between our Navy and the Japanese Navy from June 4th through 7th in 1942. After my father died, I learned his division was one of three that liberated the Dachau Concentration camp, April 29, 1945.
When we were growing up, we learned about the war, in school, from family and friends. Family members who’d been in the war didn’t talk about it and no doubt, in some cases, couldn’t talk about it.
Here’s the nexus of what being American, as opposed to being an American, is all about. The story of World War II, and the story of World War I (my grandfather fought in World War I, with the Rainbow Division), was void of politics. Political parties meant nothing to us.
I remember when all of us would be Americans and nothing but Americans. When we played Cowboys and Indians, some of us would be Indians and some of us would be cowboys. When we played Army, none of us played Nazis. All of us were Americans, and all of us fought the evil Nazis hiding in the woods.
That none of us played Nazis was not, I repeat, not talked about, discussed, decided on. It was a reality baked into all of us. We were heart and soul Americans. We knew being American was more important than any political party.