What this country needs is an orgy of patriotism.
No, nothing about the man in the White House. Nothing about how messy foreign policy is or the spreading evils of nationalism. No bemoaning or celebrating athletes kneeling or raising fists in protest of social ills.
We need a re-recognition of the American spirit, the kind that sends California firefighters into killer fires at the risk of their lives to try to save their neighbors’ homes while their own homes burn.
The kind that prompts people in floods, tornadoes and earthquakes to open their homes, hearts, closets and pantries to each other.
The kind that sends a person into churning floodwaters to try to save a drowning victim.
We need a rekindling of pride in the goodness of our citizens who volunteer their time and talent to help others.
One out of every four Americans selflessly gives personal time to an organization that does good. These are the angels among us. And when a tsunami or natural disaster overwhelms people in countries thousands of miles away, Americans dig into their pockets to provide funds for aid.
Those Americans who count ballots and go door-to-door urging friends and strangers to go to the effort of voting need to be saluted.
Let’s hear it for American movies and music and plays and dance and art.
We’re a creative, innovative, passionate people. And we should love ourselves a lot more than we do for our zest for life and determination to keep striving.
We must be grateful for the sheer physical beauty of this splendid country. We city-bound souls sometimes forget the glories of the mountains, the coasts, the national monuments, the parks, the sunsets, the sunrises, the forests, the unexpected bursts of color, patterns and natural pageantry that make the heart soar.
Americans who adopt lost and abandoned children and pets and love them forever, sometimes at great cost and personal anguish are true heroes.
We must remember that many, many products are “made in America” and are the best quality available. Americans take pride in their work, and that should be grist for the patriotic mill.
Any of us whose vehicle has ever broken down on the road and breathed a sigh of relief when a kind stranger stopped to help should rejoice in being on an American road.
Who has not been rapt watching on television as Americans saved a stranded whale or dolphin, collected debris along a roadside or worked together pulling a car out of the mud?
Yes, there have been voting snafus and some days the freedoms we have (that we too often take for granted) seem imperiled. But in the course of time, Americans always rebel against anything that encroaches on their rights and demand their restoration.
Americans are entrepreneurs and explorers and are rarely satisfied with the status quo. They hack cities out of wilderness, change the course of rivers and yet strive to protect the environment, the first country to recognize the perils of climate change.
Let us never forget the real heroes — the servicemen and -women, the caregivers, the doctors and nurses, the waiters and waitresses, the chefs, the lawn care providers, the florists, the police officers, the mechanics, the engineers, the farmers, the clerks, and the many who do their sometimes thankless jobs without fail and without glory — the ones who make the country work.
Every day, no matter what, they get up and go to work.
There have been many downs, many downs, and America has much to answer for, including vile slavery and wars that were not fought for just cause. We have at times failed to act to right terrible wrongs. Sometimes we don’t get it right. But, above all, we keep trying.
Overall, America is a land of joy and exuberance and opportunity and, especially, hope.
Let’s relish our patriotism and be thankful for it and polish it and celebrate it and bring it out for more than special holidays.