“I believe in America”
I’m in the middle of writing a new post but did not want to miss an opportunity to express some thoughts on the recent U.S. election. As many of my readers know, I’m a Canadian citizen, so I couldn’t vote. But my connection to the U.S.A. runs deep. My mother grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and I share her enthusiasm for the people and institutions of the country to the chagrin of many of my fellow Canadians.
When my grandfather became a U.S. citizen in 1960 he took great pride in his ability to vote in the presidential election. I always admired that. He taught me many things, not the least of which was knowing your place in history and being a part of it. He passed away in 2005 but I wish he had been around to see the election of Barack Obama. Not only because he lived through the civil rights movement and recognized the struggle of black Americans, but because of the hope that Obama has infused into the international conversation. It’s the same sense of hope and possibility that he inspired in me as a child. He was adament about the love he had for his adopted country, so much so that I used to tease him that he sounded like Bonasera at the beginning of The Godfather: “I believe in America.” Just imagine a German accent instead of an Italian one.
My wife likes to point out that my family is resolutely committed to the hope and optimism that is routinely ridiculed by contemporary cynics. We’re about apple pies and trusting the nightly news. It’s a decidedly old world attitude, but one that seems more relevant today than ever before.