Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Post-Election, Signalwriter Celebrates the Amazing United States of Everyone.

Ever since I woke up this morning, I have been trying to parse just why I’m loving this post-US-election day feeling of exhilaration. (Parse = “to examine in a minute way, to analyze critically…”) Fortunately, I was Skyping with Swiss Dialogue International colleague Peter Thoma and he came up with the answer.

Regardless of my own political leanings, I have always considered that American politics is a raucous blend of punch-‘em-up claims, reasoned analyses and strong emotions. Anybody who doesn’t get this is sort of ignoring 200+ years of American history, as far as I can tell – it’s been going on that long.

Just a couple of days ago, I heard that blogger John Podhoretz called US politics something like the greatest public theatre in our nation’s history, bar none. (Podhoretz himself’s no wallflower, with published comments like, “…the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Carl Paladino, went out with a concession speech for which the word “psychotic” would seem to be an understatement.”)

Newspaper commentaries with screaming and yelling in them have been hard to ignore. I have listened to radioheads being alternately exuberant and abrasive; and TV talk-show hosts have used language (about political candidates) that my momma wouldn’t have put up with for a minute. What a ride…and there’s almost nothing to do with advertising and marketing in it. Well, some.

The amount of cheering and weeping, gnashing and wailing on Facebook is equally daunting, especially since so many of the comments come from colleagues and friends in other parts of the world. I thought, “Come on now, I don’t post nasties about the election in Spain, say; or the recent changes in EU laws.” What gives all these people the right to criticize us?

Then Thoma repeated a different conversation he’d had, in which he replied, “America’s not our country.”

I realized (again): America is!

American is – absolutely – Peter’s country and Alison’s in Cambridge; Tom’s country, even though he’s in Prague, and Graham’s (same locale) and Abdol’s in Jeddah. Heck, it’s even the country of people like RL Stine, who’s just been quoted saying, “I’m so glad I live in New York City and not in the United States.”

Everyone feels free to say what they like about America right out loud because it is everyone’s country. No other nation I can think of gives the entire population of a whole planet the freedom to say whatever it likes about how America looks, how America acts, how America worships – and so on. Amazing.

Happy just-after-the-election day, everyone. It’s your election, too.

PHOTO: Conceptual American Flag Maze © Suljo |

No comments: