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My Wife and America

I am a fortunate man. My wife loves me for who I am. And I love her. We enjoy traveling, cooking (especially with our new smoker grill), taking long drives, and spending quality time with our daughters and Daisy, our beloved Morkie.


I don’t think either one of us would venture to call the other one “perfect”. I can leave a few tools around the house yet get irritated that the kitchen counter has too much unopened mail or newspapers. I’m not a car guy, but somehow when something is wrong with a car, it’s up to me to figure out what is wrong, or at least describe it to the mechanic. I have a nephew who can figure out the problem over the phone by asking “is it more of a ‘whishhh’ or a whoosh’?”.


I don’t care how much you describe something about health and medicines and treatments, I will never understand, and still think I’m going to die because of whatever I have. I’m famous for saving a $150 plumber call by spending $300 on tools and supplies, take 3x as long doing it, and wondering for the next month if my repair will hold.

 

Of course, I would never, in print, on the internet, share anything

imperfect about my perfect spouse. Never.

 

We all learn to accommodate, don’t we? If I care about the fact that the bookshelf looks untidy because of whatever OCD trigger pops up (like, shouldn’t the presidential books be in chronological order?), then it’s up to me to do something about it. I don’t wonder why it doesn’t bother her. In fact, there are some things I care deeply about, so I take care of them. Some are important, like, say, my need to plan things out in detail so I don’t have surprises. Others, not so important, but I still care. Close the door if the AC is on. Turn off lights in rooms you have vacated (yes, I know with LED this shouldn’t matter, but, well, um, uh, I have no answer).


My wife does things for us that I depend on. Morning coffee is ready to be made before retiring for the evening. Bills are paid. Don’t ask why this one started – I don’t think I look really good in how this came about. Something about me asking too many questions about things when I paid them. Now I am conveniently ignorant, and (as far as I know) no bill collectors are after us.


Now, let’s recap. Neither my wife nor I are perfect. We have a long history of small adjustments, splitting of tasks, learning what we are each good at, and accommodating through (mostly) unspoken compromise, to make sure we are as thoughtful and supportive as we can be, and still make sure we are both clothed, fed, and entertained day-in and day-out.


Now, suppose someone, say, an acquaintance of my wife, begins to point out my flaws. I spend too much for a bottle of wine. Don't seem to exercise as much as I should. I either talk too much or won’t say a word. Obsessive about things that aren’t important.


This acquaintance finds my wife at various places, and constantly tells her that, not only do I have flaws, but that SHE is a bad person because she won’t change me or leave me. Someone who seems to have little insight into the complexities of our relationship would seek to destroy it because she thinks my wife should have a fresh start to find someone who is gorgeous, rich, can fix a car, and sweep her off her feet on a weekend trip to Italy.

 

Fat chance. My wife would drop that person like a flaming potato.

 

And yet, there is a segment of America that sees our country that way. See, many of us have a deep love of this country. We have seen things that we do really well as Americans. Our ingenuity, industrial toughness, our societal goodness, and our ability to lead the world in prosperity and charity can make us proud. The rule of law, property rights, and federalism provide us with individual freedoms to pursue our own happiness.


This love of country is not blind. In fact, I believe it is this love of country that provides the strength to face, head-on, the ills that exist inside of our country, as well as the damage we’ve done among the broader community of nations. We are a vast country, with the privilege of natural resources, geographic solitude, and a melting pot of cultures attempting to combine to create the concept of an American. This doesn’t come without damage. For many of us (I will say, “most of us”), we understand that we can, over time, confront injustices, and define a future in line with our God-given rights, and the principles of this great country.


Perhaps some time I’ll pick at the scabs of our damage, but not now. For now, suffice it to say that many of us can identify an injustice, an outrage, a hypocritical stance on an important value, that we think needs to be changed. These issues are real.


However, we must confront very powerful forces that benefit from fomenting despair, damaging our cultural fabric, and seeking to divide us based on grievances. Paradoxically, these forces don't often get around to helping to fix a grievance, but use it to divide us. Over and over again. First, though, we must identify those who, like my wife’s acquaintance, don’t understand this complex relationship of Americans and our values, and want to continually tear us away from what makes us unique, just like the uniqueness of any marriage.


And that is the Media. It is Big Tech. Our acquaintance who is always looking to focus on everything that is wrong is responsible for the state of our society. Things that are good, inspiring, and telling of our collective embrace of country’s goodness, are censored from social media. The “both sides of the story” point-counterpoint public discussion does not exist in media. We are preached at, day after day. Data and science are often incorrectly (and purposefully) interpreted to construct an accommodating narrative.

 

Goodbye, destructive acquaintance. My marriage is fine. We are flawed, and we improve. It’s one of those “contracts of life”. So too with our society.

 

I left Facebook a long time ago. What started out as a fun way to connect occasionally with old friends became a cesspool of “friend of friend” judgmental commentary. I tried to sincerely ask questions to learn about people's beliefs, but quickly learned that's not really the point, I guess. We are just supposed to yell. Or something. So, I said goodbye with no regrets. I’ve never been a big user of twitter, although I have found it a good way to follow important voices and sources.


Goodbye, big media. If a TV source starts with a three-letter acronym or word, you are part of the problem. With a few notable exceptions, you peddle in fear porn much of the time, and are training the public to hate America. You’ve done great damage to many Americans, and to our great country.


We are better than you. Forget ink by the barrel. Those days are gone (look at your ratings). Technology has created a vast “marketplace of ideas”. We are a smart people. We can find a depth of information that is way bigger than a 6 minute news clip. We can discern. We The People will own the search for truth. Better information will find its way to the top (without censorship).


Why? Because we’ve had it with being told we are a bad country, that we are not worthy of the freedoms we have (and must give some of them up), and that we need to tear down the institutions that safeguard our liberties for some as-of-yet unseen gorgeous, rich, (car-fixing, of course) alternative.


It is our strength, our belief in the good, and our resolve to do the hard work to preserve our freedoms that gives us the confidence to stay with our country, “till death do us part,” and rid ourselves of destructive forces. May we always be accommodating, adjusting, and ultimately as content with America’s long standing principles as we are with our spouse.








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