Last Friday, as I was heading home from Film Streams, I saw a cement mixer that had, attached to the back end, one of the most memorable bumper stickers of all time:
"America: Love It or Leave It."
I've always had a problem with that message...even going back to when the sticker first hit vehicles in the early 1970s.
To me, the message implies that if you don't like anything about the United States (and would like to remedy those things you don't like), well...that's just too darned bad. You're told you've got to live with America's warts.
Now, if you were around during the 1970s (especially if you grew up during that decade), you might remember what America was going through...starting with the Vietnam War and working through the nation's struggles with inflation, the energy crisis, the Watergate scandal and the resulting fallout, the nation's Establishment wrestling with explanations about new attitudes (especially about civil rights and feminism) here in these fifty states, ecology becoming a mainstream issue, and...and...and...
Back then, I was more attracted to another bumper-sticker message: "America: Change It or Lose It."
I mean, what good does it do to abandon a nation when it's got problems?
You parents out there: Would you be willing to abandon your children whenever they've exhibited problems in their lives?
Think about the problems this country's facing at the present time (some of them holdovers from the 1970s, for crying out loud!). If you and I really care about America, wouldn't we fight to do whatever it takes to keep it on the map? Wouldn't we fight to take care of the issues that threaten to implode this land of ours?
With a Congress that's less effective than a day-care center; states whose Republican-led legislatures are out to destroy (okay, at least hamper) the right to vote; bluebloods like Sheldon Adelson and Charles and David Koch trying to buy this year's presidential election instead of letting We the People make our choices; education no longer a real priority here in the US; and inflation, unemployment, and energy still issues out there (to say nothing of feminism and civil rights), really...is this a good time to leave America's warts intact?
Doggone it, let's GET RID OF these warts!!