Dear America, I am not American, but I love you. I always have, no matter what. There are many reasons why and none of them have anything to do with Hollywood or TV or any of the obvious reasons people say ‘I love America’.
I have seen the Park Avenue America and the third world America of Reservations and don’t believe the meritocratic hype, because, as in every other country, the dice is always loaded. The best and the worst of a place always needs to be balanced because one does not exist without the other. So let’s get the worst out of the way because as I said, this is a love letter.
Unfortunately there is no sweeping recent events under the collective carpet. Maybe, as a voter, you were blindsided by Trump, somehow you failed to see the warning signs (hard to believe given that he has lived his whole adult life in the public eye), somehow you just didn’t think this would happen, could happen. But now, now you must surely realize that there is no shade, just dazzling, cruel clarity. The kind that makes your soul flinch. The Grand Old Party has gone into free fall, spiralling into the very thing your country’s founding fathers fought against and drew up a constitution to prevent: tyranny.
If these are your thoughts too, this love letter is also for you.
So, why do I love America? The answer is simple, blindingly simple. People. American people.
Let me tell you who you are and what you are like, as seen from my own experiences with you. There are people in your beautiful land who share my DNA, they are my family and they have loved me more than my own grandparents. There are people in your beautiful land who do not share my DNA, but they made me part of their family. You Hawaiians, Rhode Islanders, Floridians, Texans, New Yorkers, Minnesotans, Californians; you Brooklynites, you from Chicago, Cleveland and Albuquerque, you from the Navajo Nation, you sweet home Alabamans and all you other Americans from sea to shining sea: please God never lose your openness and your wide, sweet welcomes. Never lose your amazing generosity and all that that word implies. Never lose your infectious enthusiasm that the sour world sneers at because world weary jaded souls have no immunity against it and you infect us with it and we’re better because of it.
I have spent a lot of time in your country. American arms have unfurled and enclosed around me on many occasions. You have held me up and bigged me up and been in my corner more times than I probably ever deserved. Your moms have fed me and tucked me into bed and made me their own daughter, even for a few short days. To them, I was never a stranger, I was someone to take care of. Your dads have driven me for miles, often out of their way, with willing hearts and corny jokes and determined I should try all the American things I’d never had before.
The Americans friends I have made over the years have come from all walks of life, from all parts of your vast nation, people of all religions, all ethnicities. Writers, journalists, bartenders, singers, lawyers, actors, secretaries, paralegals, taxi drivers, cops, flight attendants and waiters. The crazy guys at JFK “you’re a lady, dontcha ever let anyone tell ya otherwise, you’re a lady” (back in the days when you could have a joke at airports), the anonymous man who paid for my dinner in New York, the man who sat on the floor at Honolulu airport and cradled my stricken sister’s head like she was his own child. Your soldiers in foreign countries stepping up and stepping in and looking after us (a whole other story). Your strength and grace in the face of adversity and your determination to rise up, your unending faith in a brighter, better time. America is already great because of you.
All of this, all of you who make America America, please never change. No matter what happens, no matter who thinks they are captain of your grand behemoth of a ship, I know in my soul that my Americans will right the wrongs and be the light keepers who guide the ship home through the treacherous, rock-strewn darkness.
You are the reason I will always love America. You are America. How can I not love you?