The American Dream

So I digress from Penang today.

Oh America.

I get it now, what divided means. The America I love isn’t the America I thought it was at all. There is another world within it, hidden and lethal, which rose its head in a red bloodbath yesterday. It devoured a few things in its wake, and regurgitated America’s new president-elect.

Oh America.

Eight years. I can’t deny America changed me in more ways than one. If I have to look for a grand summary in words of those eight years and what America gave me (since I love words), those are freedom and independence. To be what I want to be. To do what I want to do. To feel safe and reassured of the ground beneath my feet. To feel inspired by things that became the wind beneath my wings. I can’t thank my family enough for putting me on that first flight there. Today, I wondered to myself, would I have loved America this much if I had lived in the heartland of the country? Or would it have been a completely different country from the one I now know? I think I know the answer. It’s like the ovarian lottery. I think I got very, very lucky.

Oh America.

We all have our own ways to find solace. I read and re-read Friedman on NYT. To paraphrase, change is what people seek every so often, and this time it seemed like many did not care who the change agent was. To paraphrase again, I can only hope that he wasn’t committed to a single thing he said all this while, except for the resounding “I want to win”.

It’s easy to say everything will be ok in the long run. Of course it will. One could say that at Normandy on D-Day or Hiroshima on N-Day, shrug and be zen. Today, I gave up being zen. I gave myself permission to be brave enough to feel and express.

Oh America.

Now, back to the real world.

“Regardless of which side you were on in the election, regardless of whether your candidate won or lost, the sun will come up in the morning.”
– paraphrasing Barack Obama, 9 Nov 2016

To paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr., the moral arc of our world is long but it bends toward justice. As travelers engaged with our world in all of its diversity, we contribute to that arc. It’s a long haul, but I have confidence that that arc will bend in a way that is ultimately right.
Rick Steves, 9 Nov 2016


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