Thursday, December 22, 2016

Our America this Christmas?

This morning I came across a timely piece of writing that made me both proud of my Irish heritage and wonder why something similar hasn't been written for and about America. I'm making an exception of Langston Hughes' Let America Be America Again for what I hope are obvious reasons. The piece in question was written by Niall Horan, an Irish singer. If he didn't write it, he at least included it in his Twitter TimeLine, where I found it.

a Christmas beacon?
a Christmas beacon?
Photo by J. Harrington

My question to you is, other than inserting America everywhere it reads Ireland, what else would you change about this? One of the things that fascinates me is that, other than the name of the country, there's no reference to ownership of geography that I've noticed.

Could this be our America?
Could this be our America?

The next question is, since this is the Christmas season, can we Americans restore a common sense of identity, similar to the one reflected above? Wouldn't that be the best present we could give ourselves this year? The piece, with few edits, describes an America I'd find easy to love and be proud of, and enjoy living in, much more so than the one I seem to run into every day these days.

In case you're wondering, I'm hoping the specific mentions of the "deeply rooted" and the "storytellers" gives this a piece an inclusiveness that makes it acceptable to, perhaps even welcome by, Native Americans, our Indigenous peoples. Your thoughts? Doesn't Whitman help remind us of who we were?

UPDATE 1: At the time the preceding was written, I hadn't yet seen PEN AMERICA's gift from Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palma, this version of Leonard Cohen's Democracy.

UPDATE 2: Democracy reminded me of Neil Diamond's America


Centre of equal daughters, equal sons, 
All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich, 
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
Chair’d in the adamant of Time.

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