Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The right kind of patriot

I'm in the airport this morning and I just teared up while reading
Sarah Vowell's "The Wordy Shipmates." She was talking about the
September 11th attacks as being the catalyst for her writing this book
and the story she related made me cry.

I'm not a New Yorker. I've never spent any real amount of time in the
city. I don't know anyone hurt by the attacks, and yet stories of the
day do affect me. I feel like I have no right to cry at stories of
September 11th, and yet here I am tearing up over Sarah Vowell writing
about New Yorkers lined up to give blood and cleaning out drug stores
of toothpaste to donate to relief organizations.

I consider Sarah Vowell the right kind of patriot. She's fully willing
to own up to all of the faults of our country, and yet still loves it.
People annoy me when they think that saying there's anything wrong
means you don't love your country. (Although one doesn't really have
to love one's country.)

My favorite Vowell essay is about the Rodney King riots. She was
living in Europe and watching them on TV and actually got homesick
while watching them. It hit her how much she missed her country,
despite all it's flaws. That essay perfectly summed up how I feel
about the US.

So, tomorrow night when I have the choice between watching the debate
between two men who want to be our president and fighting the crowds
at barnes and noble to go see Sarah Vowell read from her new book, I'm
not sure which I'll pick.


soniasax said...

i say go to b & n. you can watch the debate later.

Elaine said...

b & n all the way over anything else, except eating.

i cant watch the 9-11 movies that have come out. why would anyone..new yorker or not...want to relive it that way?