America is a Noun

Although I love my country as much as the next guy, I’m just not the flag waving type. Even on the Fourth of July, I’m not the sort to dress up in red, white, and blue, and if I hear Lee Greenwood proclaim one more time how proud he is to be an American, I might puncture my own ear drums. So, I was a bit surprised when, while out on a morning jog, a man in a pickup truck blew his horn at me and shouted, “America!” as he passed and as if a noun can be a sentence. Out of conditioned politeness, I waved back. While still processing the man’s motivation for honking and hooting at me, I turned to see a Trump/Pence bumper sticker affixed to the truck’s back window. I laughed and thought, “If only he knew.”

Then it suddenly dawned on me that I was wearing a red, white, and blue t-shirt (see photo above) with the word “Americans” across the front in script and that it was what had inspired the man’s assumed bond of fraternity with me as fellow Trump zealots, which I’ll just say I am not and leave it at that. However, the “Americans” on the shirt actually represents the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League, not America, the beautiful. I laughed at the misunderstanding and continued my run.

My next realization, however, was a sad one. This stranger had clearly conflated my red, white, and blue Americans t-shirt with his own passion for President Trump, as if anyone of a different political persuasion could not possibly be wearing those colors. In his mind, those colors, Americanism, and a liberal mindset were exclusive to like-minded folk on the right of the political spectrum and off-limits to those on the left.

This realization brought to mind the numerous red, white, and blue flags I’ve seen – emblazoned with the President’s name, image, or a slogan flying from poles attached to homes, trucks, and even boats – and it caused me a measure of chagrin. I’m not sure with whom I was more disappointed: right wingers for co-opting the colors and the notion of American pride or left-leaning folks like me for allowing it to happen.

“Folks like me” love our country just as much as that man in his pickup, and we too believe it to represent mankind’s best stab yet at forming a just body politic. We do not, however, think Her to be above criticism or the need for on-going improvement. America reminds me of my best students, who, although they are already receiving ninety-five percents, we both know they are capable of earning ninety-eights or ninety-nines. I’m equally demanding of them, if not more, as I am of the students earning seventy-five percents. However, I’m much more disappointed in those same “A” students when they fail to live up to their promise. Potential is both a blessing and a curse.

Although America is a noun and cannot be a one-word imperative sentence, the truth is that man in the pickup was correct, even if not for the reason he believed. We are brothers as members of the same American family. It is my responsibility to respect him as a person while not necessarily respecting his ideas or agreeing with his passion for the President and his policies. I can only hope that he would provide me the same measure of what should be common courtesy. Any other response only undermines and weakens the country we both claim to love.

If you enjoy my blog posts, you might enjoy my novels. Click on the “Home” link above to sample and/or order one today! – Thanks, Ty

Published by tyfroth

My primary passion and vocation is teaching literature and composition on both the high school and university level. My avocation is writing novels that explore contemporary themes/issues relevant to both young adult and adult readers.

2 thoughts on “America is a Noun

  1. The mistake you made is assuming that all of us conservatives are Trump zealots. We fly the flag on the forth of July and never get tired of hearing Lee Greenwood sing I’m proud to be an American, because we love this country just like you. Only we are a little more open about it. I can respect anyone’s opinion as long as they want what is best for this country. When Obama was president ( I did not vote for him) I wanted him to succeed in everything he did as long as it was best for the country. I only ask the same of liberals. No mater who is president we all should get behind him or her and work for the good of the country. Nobody of either side should try and hurt the man in the office just because they don’t agree with them. I for one will be voting for Trump because that is who I think will do the best for the country. But no matter who wins I will wish them well and hope they make this country a better place before they leave office. Think of what this country could be like if we all worked together for the good of the people.

    1. Well said! Thank you for your well-reasoned response. I very much began President Trump’s term rooting for him and tried to convince many friends to give him a chance to prove them wrong. At least according to my expectations, however, and for what they’re worth, I do not feel he has risen to or represented the office well. These differing expectations and values are why we vote. At the end of the day, I think we agree on what should be expected of us as citizens and on what’s best for the country as a whole.

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