Eyre Affairs

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Friday, May 19, 2006

"And an honest and happy pride..." ~ Jane Eyre

For as long as I can remember, I have romanticized the United States. Nothing has changed since the time I was seven, standing in front of the Lincoln monument in Washington DC, Lincoln sitting behind me and my sister as we salute towards the lens of my father's camera.

I am in love with Abraham Lincoln despite the fact that he is just too tall for me. I love Teddy Roosevelt as a daughter loves her father. (His physicallity just so happens to remind me of my father.) The pledge of allegiance does not resonate as a pledge to me, but a love poem written for the American flag. The Declaration of Independence is as well written as any work in the English canon. As for the Constitution, it is a work of sheer beauty as wondrous as any text that is true and ideal. Lady Liberty is among the most beautiful of sculptures.

However, there are many things about the United States that I don't like; issues that enrage me, policies that anger me, and bureaucracy that hurts me. The course of true love never did run smooth, and this country has taught me what unconditional love is.

Perspective is important.

When I get angry, enraged, and hurt, I have a right to speak and act on my feelings. That is the beauty of living here. When I disagree with philosophies, I exercise my power to disagree every time I step into the voting booth. When I feel strong about an issue, I have the freedom of speech to discuss it on my blog.

This is the land which took care of my great-grandparents and grandparents after they survived a genocide. This is the land which gave my parents educational opportunities, which in turn they gave to me and my sisters. This is the land my grandfathers fought to protect from the Axis Powers in World War II. Their uniforms and the flags presented to my grandmothers when they died have been left to me in wills, because they are invaluable.

In the history of this nation, there has always been conflict. We are not a utopia by any means, but we are fortunate to live here. My brother-in-law is a conservative man, and although I am not a conservative by any means, I respect his politics. Why? Because he grew up in a communist country. He defected with nothing but his shirt on his back. He spent a year in a D.P. camp in Italy before coming here with nothing as a teenager with his family.

Now, close to 40 years of age, he is businessman and giving so many beautiful things to his son, my nephew, that it brings me to tears. It includes my nephew's Christening this weekend in the Armenian Church and a beautiful celebration afterwards. I admire my brother-in-law so very much, and I love my country because it has taken care of him, as it takes care of me and all of us.

This post is here for three reasons. The first, and most important, is because I have the right to say whatever I wish. The second, because love of this country came up in conversation last night and I wanted to share my beliefs - take it for what you will. Third, a friend will be deployed tomorrow to Iraq to serve as a Lieutenant in the United States Army there. I am thankful that I have freedom of speech and I am thankful that people can debate politics freely.

I am also very thankful to my friend who is leaving tomorrow. He knows this country is far from perfect, but he also knows that this country is worth love and respect of its citizens. I have nothing but respect for him since the day we met and he told me he was going to the USMA. I am fortunate to have witnessed his honorable career so far.

One of the most beautiful songs from a Broadway show is called "Anthem" from a musical called Chess. I rarely publish song lyrics because we have heard most, but this song is not well known. The song is sung by a man who knows his country is quite imperfect, but he loves his country regardless.

He is in love with it. For good and for bad. Unconditional love.

Anthem
No man, no madness
Though their sad power may prevail
Can possess, conquer, my country's heart
They rise to fail
She is eternal
Long before nations' lines were drawn
When no flags flew, when no armies stood
My land was born.
And you ask me why I love her
Through wars, death and despair.
She is the constant, we who don't care
And you wonder will I leave her -- but how?
I cross over borders but I'm still there now.
How can I leave her?Where would I start?
Let man's petty nations tear themselves apart
My land's only borders lie around my heart.

13 Comments:

Blogger work in progress said...

Eloquent post. You leave me somewhat speachless.

My thoughts are with you and your friend.

11:48 AM  
Blogger Charlie Mc said...

Although we disagree greatly on this one, we are all entitled to our opinions. I believe more in the John Lennon philosophy. I like to

"Imagine there's no countries,
it isn't hard to do
nothing to kill or die for
and no religion too
Imagine ALL the people
Living life in peace"

I think when the world stops having blind faith in religion, leaders, countries, and other things along those lines and starts having faith in each other and taking pride in the "human race" where we are not divided by flags, color, religion, or anything else, that is when this world will be a better place and all this insanity will stop.

I am glad to be an American, but we need to stop forcing our way of life down the throats of everyone else. We are hypocritical in many ways and do things when it suits us economically rather than when it is just the right thing to do.

There is genocide and AIDS rampant in Africa, yet this great "freedom and justice machine" known as America turns its back on those people because they have nothing to offer us financially and economically. If there was oil there, we'd be there in a heartbeat.

Although America is great, we need to fix ourselves before we can police the world and force our way of life on others. Let's start with the President.

12:07 PM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

WUP ~ Thank you so much for your support.

Chaz ~ John Lennon died, sadly albeit, on American soil. In many countries and regimes, he probably wouldnt be allowed to have married Yoko. America gave Lennon his livelihood. That song was censored in other countries, btw. The photo you have of him is one in front of Lady Liberty, no? Thank you for expressing freedom of speech here and proving my point. I still respect you and adore you despite the fact I think you are wrong, baby. ;)

12:15 PM  
Blogger Night Flier said...

Chills...this post gave me chills..in a good way ;)

Beautiful..

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Pukk said...

Cheers from Ireland. Have a Guinness for me because I can't. :)

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Pukk said...

Oh and to add to your top ten list...

11) Because you are guaranteed I will not deplete the world's supply of Guinness.

:)

6:38 PM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

Pukk ~ Oh the irony of you being in Ireland and not having a Guiness! :( It was good to hear from you so early on in your journey to Iraq. I will definitely have a pint for you this weekend! :) May the rest of the trip be safe...

7:33 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

Great post. Like you and Charlie, I have strong political opinions and disagree with so much of what our country has been involved in. However, I'm also so grateful for what we can be - to people like your grandparents, your brother-in-law, and so many others.
I live in Southern CA, one hour from the border of Mexico. One hour. Sixty miles separating one way of life from another. I never forget that the blessings I have are not earned, and I don't deserve them more than those who were born sixty miles south of me. It's just a matter of geography.

I admire your passion and your ability to articulate it.

1:22 AM  
Blogger Clearlykels said...

Beautifully well written. Our freedom of speech is always a good point. My thoughts are with your friend who is about to be deployed.

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Ariella said...

Lovely post. You know, I am totally NOT in favor of the war we're currently fighting, but I am 100% in support of the troops. How can you not be? They are out there defending our country whether or not you support the war or our president.

It's odd to me that some conservatives try to paint liberals as not supporting the troops. We may not support the troops being there in Iraq right now, but those troops are our friends and family; to not support them would be foolish. I hope your friend is safe during his entire time there.

12:00 PM  
Blogger beachgirl said...

That was an amazing post. I will include your friend being deployed in my prayers. I have some good friends over there now, but they are all about to rotate out this summer and fall... Email me sometime if you need to talk.

And tell your friend that maybe HE should start blogging, two of my friends have done it and they find it to be very cathartic...

3:57 PM  
Blogger afromabq said...

a beautiful post thursday, i love our military and am also honored to know many in uniform.

who's john lennon?? :)

12:18 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

There is so much in this post. One of the things I really like is your appreciation for your freedom. Then you act upon it. I really don't think most Americans realize just how precious that is. There is not really any other place so free. Ok I did my 10 cents... Thanks for the post though

2:52 PM  

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