America is a proud land where one can view pictures from a telescope in the outer reaches of darkness, eat a corn dog, and scroll for useless information, all at the same time.
The patriots responsible for such things — Carl Sagan, Yogi Berra, and Al Gore — didn't know they were pushing us into an evolutionary state of catatonia, also known as the act of going forward in a backward motion through a Bermuda Triangle of daily choices. (You have never heard of this because it's an inconvenient truth.)
Our nation was established when Christopher Columbus decided the Mother Church was taking up too many offerings and he went to see the Queen. He told the Queen — played by Helen Mirren — if she would give him the money he would sail off the edge of the known world and find a new land where indigenous tribes were scantily clad. She agreed, but made him take the Puritans, who knew how to shame tribal leaders into wearing trousers.
He sailed a long time and slammed into places like Cuba, which opened up trade routes with Britain, who sent us all their turkeys for Thanksgiving with the natives. This was such a success, Britain later sent us Beatles, in hopes we could do something with them.
Things were going smashingly well until some of the "Fathers" found a large stash of tea. The tea was thrown into the bay to draw attention to taxation without representation, which we know is one of the fundamental liberties Congress enjoys today.
I understand the founding of our country. It was a big church split. Church splits work today as they did back then. A person gets fed up with all the politics in church and he or she decides to take a few people and go across town so they can start a "new church" that looks exactly like the last one, where they can practice their own politics. And the reason I know this was just another church split is because men came from England with those weird little wigs. If they were going to start something "new," the wigs would've been left behind. So it all makes sense.
I don't know when they quit wearing the wigs, but I don't think it was before they banished the tribal people or before they decided to kidnap people from Africa who became slaves to those who founded our country "on God."
During their slavery, many of them picked up on their owner's religion and became what the owners never were, people who understand freedom is in the heart, not in a document that espouses the pursuit of happiness, or a pledge that claims liberty and justice for all.
I love the idea of America. I grew up with it. We were the best and the brightest; the savior to disenfranchised thousands who came to our shores looking for liberty. Many found it tucked in some obscure rural address, or in the pocket of a boom town, where the world was no more frightening that an ice cream social. I salute the fortitude and bravery of those who came to our country believing our press, but it's not so simple anymore.
While stalwart believers continue to recite puritanical ideologies about our beginning, our collective injury is putrefying in the streets of lost opportunities. We can't pay the damages of the past, but we can drop the fairy tale and find ways to open up channels of healing. Maybe I'm idealistic, but I think much of the damage could be healed by the simple act of listening to one another.
So, can we turn our nation around? It will probably take years of intense redirection, but wouldn't it be nice if it were as easy as writing an article that started out one way and ended another.
Susan Kay lives in Douglas County and has a website at www.anxiety-master.com.