I never used to think about whether I loved my country or not. I knew that I was supposed to, but I never really thought about it one way or another.
In my 20s I woke up to the fact that things in my country weren't really like I had been taught, and so for awhile I didn't feel a lot of love for my country. It worried me that it seemed to be the land of the free for only some people, and that our prosperity seemed to be founded on slavery and our good luck to have a lot of oil under our property.
After awhile I mellowed and realized that I live in a geographically fabulously beautiful country. I realized that although the citizens of my country were very flawed individually and collectively, we had pretty good intentions over all. I also learned that in a democracy I had all kinds of opportunities to have input into decisions made on my behalf and I was so grateful for that.
The election in 2008 of an African American president proved to me that the majority of citizens in my country really wanted to move forward into an era of equality for everyone. I already knew about backlash, so I was kind of prepared for the efforts of the opposition to trash the efforts of those who voted for equality.
But now I'm worried again. For the first time in my long life, I am afraid that those who believe our country should be about every man for himself, and that force is the way to settle everything are getting an upper hand. Politics seems more like war than a democracy right now.
Now I'm hearing that my country is not supposed to be a democracy but is supposed to be a republic. I'm hearing that people who need help to have a decent life should just be on their own - older people, children, people with disabilities. People who are not white are to be automatically thought of as less capable and less worthy. Women need to be kept under control and stay in their place. Those who have money want to keep it and will only pay taxes for roads and police and military, etc. because those things benefit them. They want to never have their tax money spent for anything that doesn't benefit them.
A perfect example is that one of the candidates for president in the last election said he thought instead of letting poor children have free lunches they should be made to do the janitor work to pay for them. Hmmm. Scary.
It seems to me that the opposition is saying, "If you don't agree with me, I will play dirty and make your life so miserable that you will have to give in and give me my way even if the majority of people disagree with me."
I didn't vote in the last presidential election for the first time in my life. I knew it wouldn't matter how I voted in my state since I am in the minority. My elected federal officials are quite sure they have nothing to worry about because they are from a state that is heavily in favor of their point of view. They usually do not even bother to respond to any of my letters. I am feeling very cut off from having any input for my point of view and am searching for another way.
I still love my country.
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