Day before yesterday, Sunday, a friend I know to be kind and generous reposted the screed about how it makes no sense that we provide assistance to “others” while “our own” have unmet needs, and it hurt my heart. I never like to see that come around, but that it was posted by her was hard for me to accept.
Speaking for myself, I had no active role in choosing to be born a white male in the most prosperous political subdivision of the time built on the bones of an indigenous population and slaves. I was born in Moline while others were being born in Aleppo, Al-Fallujah, Kosovo, Somalia, etc. I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I had a chance. I had a good foster home, a free public education, survived my 20 years in the service, made a few dumb-ass choices, and still have made it to within spitting distance of my 70th birthday. What right could I possible claim to withhold a share of my good fortune?
The American version of poverty, hunger, homelessness, and lack of affordable health care are problems to be sure, and you know how I feel about this country’s lack of care for its military veterans; but, in this country, they are due to a lack of will. So is our failure to do what we can for those in need around the world. We are still very much the same people who sent the MS St. Louis and her passengers back to Germany in 1939.
What does it mean to say that we are “proud to be an American” or to “make America great again”? I see no greatness in this.