Before I’m Accused of Hating America…
I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.
– James A. Baldwin
It was James Baldwin who inspired me to write. He was also black, gay and poor, making him one of the most bastardized– symbolically, at least– children America has ever conceived, and yet it did not give him cause to forsake his country.
I thought of Baldwin after reading John Cassidy’s post on American irrationality. Cassidy writes,
Having lived here for almost thirty years, and having been a U.S. citizen for the past five, I am greatly attached to this country and admire many aspects of it enormously. But the dogged persistence of certain American shibboleths has always struck me as somewhat curious.
Essentially, Cassidy calls America out for its “failure to look reality in the eye.” Like Baldwin, I love the idea of America; I love America for its enormous potential, not for what we are as a country today, nor for what we’ve proven to be in our past. We’ve a lot more work to do before achieving the idea of America.
Now, feel free to accuse me of hate mongering, or whatever.