Coming to America

Maybe it's time to imitate our ancestors and move on.

Nearly twenty years later I am still amazed by the ethnic identities dearly held in Southeastern Wisconsin. It was a completely new concept to me when moving from Oklahoma that even two or three generations removed from the immigration family identities remained strong through stories and gatherings. 

Oh, I have roots, too, but as a European mutt I've never really been asked to stake a claim. Plus, part of the family has been here since before the American Revolution, and that part was English. By the time they were living in sod houses on the prairie it was pretty much forgotten.

But we all come from somewhere. We all live in the same America. How has it become that my America as a self-described fairly conservative housewife looks so different from the America of a left-leaning celebrity like Neil Diamond? Or does it. That was the question that began rolling around in my head Sunday night when I watched Mr. Diamond and his band perform America at the Marcus Amphitheater. 

Diamond put up a picture of his grandmother as a young girl at the beginning of the song and told of his success being owed to her immigration. He spoke with obvious pride for America. I feel that pride, too. But given the chance he'd argue for one set of government leaders and I for the other. 

I defend the hard work and trained skill that allows the creation of winners like Diamond and losers like - well - me, sitting in audience for a couple of hours on a free ticket. (Another story. Again you are spared.) But he puts money into politicians who consider free cell phones and free minutes a right. I bank on those who lean towards God and guns. At least that's the divide if you listen to the media.

No wonder we're a confused country. We can't figure out how we got here, much less where we are going. But one thought kept repeating through my mind as I listened to the song: We are only as enslaved as we choose to be. We have the power to break free from this political stalemate if we work at it.

As this political season heats up, come back to that thought. Push past the punditry. Remember the pundits, no matter the side they take, are winners spoon feeding us losers who won't turn off the television or radio. Who are afraid to think for ourselves. Who become the demographic behind the advertising revenue of the media outlet who makes money from keeping you angry.

Maybe the way to honor our ancestors the most is to step back from the advertisements and advisers and pundits and talking heads and talk to each other. Take the middlemen out of this one. In Wisconsin we have an amazing opportunity to actually see the candidates come through our state. Go watch the parade with your eyes wide open. See what's been orchestrated for the rows of cameras on the risers, but also figure out what you are not being told.

Challenge yourself to move past the rhetoric that shackles our country.

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Rees Roberts July 12, 2012 at 07:07 PM
@ Alias St. Swithin That goes precisely to my point. We are not treating people with dignity. You just made my point even more important because if we were to start to trust each other (aren't we Americans to be trusted?) then wouldn't we be able to interact in a more responsible way instead of emphasizing what is not in our best collective interest? When you go out in public do you wear a mask? Do you act in an irresponsible manner? Do you say things which would elicit fear? How about we break down the wall that is preventing us from truly talking to each other? You may want to think anonymity has it's benefits but oh boy it has it's costs too and look around you,,,,,, we are all paying for them each time we say things here and other online that simply are not responsible. I say use your own name, own your own words like you would in person and see how much better things begin to evolve.
Keith Schmitz July 12, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Of course not Cindy, but there are a large number of the poor out there that indeed work very hard. But pardon me if I'm coming off making an assumption. I'm sure you'd agree there could be people up and down the economic ladder that don't work hard.
CowDung July 12, 2012 at 07:25 PM
St. Swithin used to use his real name on here. Not sure if it was an unfortunate event that caused him to change or not, but I agree that it is often unwise to reveal one's true identity and expose one's self and family to the hostility that can be practiced by those that don't like our opinions.
CowDung July 12, 2012 at 07:27 PM
...and I have never know St. Swithin to 'hide' behind his 'nom de plume' in order to anonymously make mean and nasty comments or personal attacks on this site.
St. Swithin July 12, 2012 at 07:31 PM
@Rees - please, just call me Saint. Anyway, sometimes it's just more fun to use an alias. Mine is way cool! 'Bill' is boring.


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