Mon, May

We're All Americans


KINDNESS FACTOR - I have been young, and now am old, but one thing has not changed: I am an American. 

Aging' boomer'? Yes, but no one likes labels. Funny, though. Members of my generation, while in our teens, we had a motto, "Never trust anyone over 30." Argh. Hit thirty 37 years ago. 

Yet, I don't feel old. The 70s music still sounds modern, and I don't notice anything wrong when I watch reruns of Lou Grant, even when my wife, who is 16 years younger than me, says he's abusive and shouldn't be a role model for me. I wish I knew that when my strict boss at McDonald's had me working fries, shakes, and windows—all for only $1.15 per hour! And even after a year of working at Micky D's and 'graduated' up to the point where I became a pizza delivery man for Jake's Pizza at a whopping $2 per hour—looking for houses without having GPS. Today no one wants to work for $11 per hour even if they are allowed the job perk of being allowed to stay in touch with friends on their smartphones while on the job. My, have things changed. 

But that's not what this discourse is about. Even stranger is that in high school, I hated it when our English teacher required three pages of journaling every day. Even though we could write about anything we wanted, I still seemed to run out of stuff to say. 

But the past is past, and I'm looking to the future, trying to embrace change while not completely losing touch with the rich experiences of my past, like drive-in movies and listening to inspiring songs like Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd. 

While I am fully cognizant of the importance of getting to the point early on in writing, I sometimes just can't seem to do it, so, better late than never, here's my point: 

"We're all American." 

What's that got to do with all the aforementioned nostalgia? Nothing much, but I still need to remember who I am. And I am an American. And you are likely an American. So, why do we make such a big deal about our differences? 

Think about it. 99% of our lives have very little to do with politics, or the news, or any of the wedge issues. It has to do with life. That's right: life. Life in America. Our families, friends, favorite foods, walking our dogs or getting scratched by our cats. Life.

So why the need for a low-level uncivil war? What core need do we have for embracing ongoing strife? Our motto from the 60s was, "Give peace a chance." Live and let live. We are all Americans. Let's enjoy each other and our country, and the time we have left on earth to live. Let's spend at least a few hours a day forgetting about any differences we have with our friends, co-workers, or neighbors. Most of all, let's take a break from politicians, entertainers, and self-styled 'experts' telling us what to think. Instead, perhaps we should ask ourselves, "What were we thinking before others told us what we should be thinking?" 

So, since we are all Americans and we have so much in common, can we attempt the 'impossible' and stop obsessing 24/7 on things that divide us? Strife doesn't feel good, so why do we keep French-kissing it? While the adage "If it feels good, do it" isn't always good advice, there's still some truth to it. At least we shouldn't only do things that make us feel bad, yet living in an information overload culture, sometimes all we seem to see is the bad stuff, the things that divide US. 

While this may sound as if I am not partisan or opinionated, that's not true. On the contrary, I'm extremely passionate about my beliefs. While I'd like others to share my opinions, I'm not about letting my differences spoil the day of being an American with fellow Americans living in the present. At the same time, we embrace the continuous future that rolls in like California or Florida ocean waves, refreshing any who enter and shed their strife, stress, and anxiety. 

Let's smile at the next American we see while living in the United States of America. Let's put a $5 bill in the coffee can of the veteran on the street without worrying if he or she might buy booze. Let's do good to others while we have the breath in us to do so. Let us remember that we are all in this fishbowl called earth together, and we are blessed to happen to in the quadrant called America. Well, technically, it's the United States of America. Nonetheless, we are all Americans. So, let's enjoy who we are, who we are with, and the land in which we live.


(Jerry McGlothlin is the founder of Special Guests, an agency specializing in booking guests on Talk Shows.)



Get The News In Your Email Inbox Mondays & Thursdays