“There’s something wrong in the state of America.
It is something phony, belligerent, and toxic in the culture. We are mad as hell about it, but we keep on taking it. We keep electing partisan phonies we can’t stand. We keep watching loudmouthed pseudo-news shows on cable and keep yelling back at the television. We get furious at the liberal bias and right-wing slant. We watch television for three hours a day and complain there is nothing to watch. We whine about the ads and then buy the beer, the plasma-screen television, and the “bottomless bowl” at Olive Garden. We pay two dollars a bottle for water and feel like suckers. We commute ninety minutes a day in our SUVs and complain about gas prices. We read People magazine and then get irritated by the hypersexual ads and the fawning coverage of [celebrities]. We watch Paris Hilton on Larry King Live the day after she gets out of jail for drunk driving and feel like dopes for watching. We get furious at the loud cell-phone talker in the waiting room as we bang out e-mails on our Blackberries with our angry thumbs… Americans are down on America.”
He further laments, “T-shirts that read ‘Eat me’”… “Facebook, MySpace, and kids being taught to market themselves”…and “multinational corporations that claim, ‘We care about you.’”
The book struck a nerve with me. I suppose that was the point.
We prepare to celebrate our nation’s independence next week. It’s good for us to take this time to highlight the best of our country – and to remind one another why we love us and can be proud of us. So, with our lives and for our country, let’s strive to be lovable and pride-worthy.
Let’s try to pass our free time in noble ways. Sacrifice cheerfully for a higher good. Be presentable and civil in public. Dress up when the occasion is more formal and merits something better from us. Be dependable. Keep your promises. Do what is right even when nobody is looking. Cherish purity. Apologize when you are wrong. Worship God humbly. Offer no excuses for not doing what you should. Deep inside we know what that is.
When I was in Chicago with our eighth graders, a man approached me to commend the students on how polite and well-behaved they were. We all were lifted up. Last week in the park I noticed a bag of trash that someone had left under a bench. I picked it up and threw it away – for love of us. It’s that easy. God bless and may we truly honor America.