I spent yesterday walking about downtown Cleveland which is filled with folks for the Republican National Convention. On my way here everyone told me to be careful, bring a gun, watch my back. All very good and smart words to heed considering the violence we see on the teeeveee and social media. It does seem that it’s everywhere, doesn’t it?
I showed up my usual naive self. I went out to Public Square which is, well, a public square. It was filled with police officers and media and a variety of people trying to drum up support for their particular cause. Code pink, some anarchists (who were really very nice) Trump supporters, Jill Stein supporters and Jesus Freaks.
There was very little violence. And by very little I mean one guy tried to take a swing at Alex Jones. There were some heated exchanges, but even those were nothing more than two people who both sound crazy spouting crazy talk at each other. Oh, am I being judgmental? I’m sorry. You can watch my periscope to find out what I’m talking about (all of it will be posted soon.)
But everyone was actually pretty nice to each other. Even folks who think Muslims are evil were nice to me. Maybe it catches them off guard because I look so normal? But I think it’s all part of the greater lie we are being told that America is falling apart and we need to take it back.
Here’s a secret folks- it really is all ok. Seriously. I wouldn’t lie to you.
There were people talking about how America was never great. I told him to go to Afghanistan and then tell me what’s not great about America. Nothing happened after that. That was it.
A 20 year old kid told me “All you need to do is have a banner and you can get on t.v.” He was holding a Trump banner following the anarchist ninjas around. Nothing happened to him either.
An anarchist was agreeing with a Trump supporter.
A guy who told me Obama was a muslim who hated America asked me if I was on facebook.
Some people said we are all going to hell. And there was a guy with a boot on his head.
All in all, it looked like a day in America. If you could take every bizarre-o world whacked out thing about America and put it in one place, you’d have what I saw yesterday. And to be honest, it really captures American culture at it’s best.
Do I think it’s crazy to say Obama smuggles Somalians into the U.S. through Mexico so they can wage war against us. Yup. Do I love that folks can stand there and say it. Also yup.
I love that we can walk around with our faces covered or uncovered, have an upside down flag and just speak our minds even if our minds are really confused about how the world works. I love people who say they are voting for Jill Stein and I loved the weirdos who danced barefoot in the fountain.
Thank you to those who were handing out bottles of water.
To the folks who say America was never great I ask this question – what do you want it to be? I don’t want to be like Japan, we bombed them, remember? I don’t want to ferret out ideas that I don’t like or disagree with or think are crazy. And man, oh boy. Wow. There are a lot of them. But who cares?
Look, we can all jump up and down and say burn it all down. You can rail against the ‘establishment’ whatever that is. Or, you can say you like things just how they are and you don’t want them ever to change. It actually doesn’t matter. Do you not see that the culture of America is not double stuffed crust pizza, or building walls or whatever white, black, asian, rainbow – whatever your narrow view believes it is? It is actually the craziness of being able to be all of it at once. What sort of place can contain all of this madness and rationality all at once?
America can. *
No where. You can’t do this anywhere else in the world. And if you cry about the west and how terrible it’s becoming you need to settle yourself down and look around you in America and not pretend like we are Sweden (we aren’t) or Germany (also we aren’t) or France (since when do we start wanting to be like the French anyway?) Just cut it out.
If you believe America is coming apart at the seams, come visit with me in Cleveland and fall in love with your country again.