I usually don't get into current real world politics on this page, preferring to concentrate on the music. However, in this particular case I've decided to make an exception.
In a recent discussion on Facebook, the original poster put to me the following question: "Are you no longer proud 2bn American?" (His spelling). As my reply was buried rather deeply among a large number of comments from a lot of different people, I decided to post it here as well.
"Are you no longer proud 2bn American?" Sorry it took so long to reply, but I wanted to make sure I didn't say something that would be taken out of context and used by the next Joe McCarthy type to come along. So, first off, let me tell you about the America I was raised in. This America had a whole lot of great things going for it. It had the world's most advanced health care facilities. It had an education system that was the envy of the world, and was home to the leading scientists in nearly every major field of study. It had the highest standard of living on the planet. Its cities were full of excitement and purpose. Its small towns were vibrant and healthy. Individuals could speak their mind freely on just about any subject without fear of government retaliation, and often did, even if nobody was listening. Yes, America had a lot going for it, and at the core of it all was the unshakeable belief that all these things were the birthright of every human being on the planet, not just those of us lucky enough to have been born in the USA. It was that belief and the efforts of so many Americans to bring that kind of freedom and prosperity to the rest of the world that I was proud of.
Sadly, that America no longer exists. Maybe it never did for some people, but at least in my mind when I was growing up it was the accepted reality. Now, not so much. We have fallen behind much of the world in our education system. Science is scorned. Our profit-driven health care system drives tens of thousands (probably a conservative estimate) of American families into bankruptcy every year. There is too much "me and mine" and "America first" going around, and virtually no talk of what kind of example we are setting for the rest of the world to follow. I'm not talking about imposing our system of doing things on the rest of the world; I'm talking about showing the world how good life can be and offering to help the rest of the world achieve that good life. That is something to be proud of, not this "America first" garbage. So am I "no longer proud 2bn American?" I guess that depends entirely on America itself and the direction it chooses to take from here.
Make me proud.