Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Somethin' American

With the Beijing Olympics behind us and the US presidential elections just before us, with the housing market and our once esteemed economy on life support, and with our stature in and policies on world affairs increasingly questioned, we have rarely needed a period of patriotism and focus on unity and commonality as much as we do now.

While I was happy that during this year's summer games the American-beats-Michelle-Kwan incident felt less relevant than ever, I am a little bit discouraged when the US presidential campaigns start to drudge up questions about race and fear of Somethin' Americans.

This song is about the hope that there exists unity in diversity. It's about commonality. The simple things that tie is together. The fact that we live where we do or grew up where we did. Our clothing, our right to vote, the air that we breathe; the fruit, vegetables, and meat that we find in our grocery stores. It's all the same stuff. We may wear it or prepare it differently, but it's the same.

Ironically, the most American I've felt has not been while living in any of the nine states that I've lived in. It's not when I've cast my vote, or paid my taxes. It's when I've traveled abroad to Europe or Asia and have been immersed in other cultures. That's when it becomes plainly obvious. There's never any discussion about whether I'm Somethin' American or not. They just see me -- and treat me -- as American.

There are times when we need to dissect our differences and in doing so realize opportunities to educate, communicate, and progress. There are times when we need to find inspiration in commonality. Now is a time for the latter. Although we can all claim to be Somethin' American, now is the time when we ought all to simply be, American.