26 September 2011

America the Beautiful

I spent just under a month in America this last go around.  For the first time ever I genuinely felt like a visitor.  I think for the most part that feeling has come from watching the political unravelling of what was once the world's beacon of democracy.  Crowds cheering at the mention of executing hundreds of people in Texas, presidential candidates suggesting they will roll back civil liberties that have already been granted, politicians holding the future of America hostage to score some points with their base while letting the nation rot in financial turmoil.  It was all just way too much for me and I felt like, from abroad, I didn't even recognize my own homeland.

Thankfully, an adventure criss-crossing from north to south and east to west by plane, train, and convertible mustang reminded me of just how "American" I am with regular glimmers of hope in an otherwise depressing scene.  For the first time I got a real look at the Statue of Liberty and was reminded of its brilliant inscription:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

I thought to myself, "now THAT is America."

  There was the natural beauty of Utah and the downhome charm of the wild west.  Lovely people of all shapes, colors, and sizes who would go out of their way to say hello and lend you a helping hand.  That too, was my America.

I stood at the steps of the memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. days after its opening and was reminded of America's ability to change because of our American ability to come together, to protest, and to voice our opinion.  Once again, my America.

I watched a good friend take center stage in a brilliant and compelling dance production that merged politics, classical art, and modern movement into a spectacular piece of performance art in a way that only America could do.

Finally, I sat and watched two very close friends marry set against the backdrop of magnificent Santa Fe, New Mexico thinking to myself, I can be certain that in America, equality for all will come because progress is inevitable and we have never been a nation that steps backward.  It gave me hope that perhaps someday in the future I would once again recognize my country even from the other side of the world and be able to cite it as an example of how to do things well.

As I was sitting in the airport waiting for my onward flight to China a news clip rolled about the just-happened Republican debate.  The looney unchecked statements, the frightening backwards positions on equal rights, and the blatant lies were blasting through and all I could think was "what America do these people live in because it's certainly not the one I just spent a month visiting."  The hate, the anger, the discrimination, and the stupidity were downright frightening and quite frankly, I've had enough of it.  It's time to save our country from the onslaught of absurdity, the doom of stagnation, and the era of praising ignorance.  It's time to take America back.  BRING IT.

On a lighter note, you can find all my pictures on flickr here:

New York City, Utah, Washington DC, Santa Fe, Justin Giles' Soul Escape Starring Amy Nadeau


Kyle Taylor

Read more at kyletaylor.com

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