A Craving for America

I already published this very post a month ago for the 4th of July, but in the wake of the recent Chick-fil-a controversy, I wanted to rework it a little and share it once more, in the hopes that it will pull our eyes off of the ridiculous spectacle that is being fed to us on television and through social media. It might seem like America has gone off-the-charts crazy, but go outside and look down your street. Everything is alright. Keep standing for your rights, eat some chicken if you want, but remember how our battles are really fought…in the voting booth, in the education of our children, and in our rational and gentle discussions with those we meet face to face.

~

We were pulling into a parking spot at Chick-fil-a last month when our 5-year old son, Gideon, reverently breathed from the backseat…

“Papa…I’ve never been this close to a ‘Kuhmerican’ flag before…”

Looking out the window, my eyes landed on a flagpole next to the fast food restaurant that went up, up, up…

and at the very top gloriously waved a humongous American flag.

My heart melted a little.

It doesn’t take much, does it, to capture the wonder of a child? Their little eyes have a way of appreciating the simplest things in life, and I was reminded in the midst of our busy day to look up for a moment and gaze upon the beauty of our country’s flag waving majestically in the wind.

“Do you want to touch the flagpole?” Mr. Gore asked him.

“Yes!” Gideon exclaimed, and all thoughts of lunch were momentarily put aside as our family took a tiny field trip to the Chick-fil-a flagpole, to reach out and touch the metal that hoisted that very important statement of our freedom seemingly all the way up to the sky.

It was a brief and random moment in an otherwise hectic week, but it seated itself in my heart and fanned a longing that I’ve been having as our nation continues to wade through murky political turmoil…

I’ve got a craving for America.

Not the one that is found in the partisan arguments between liberals and conservatives on news channels…

Not the one that is written between the lines of the biased and sensationalist story shared in the newspaper…

Not the one that is found in every other status update on Facebook…

Not the one that is found in the ruthless and hateful comments following every article and blog post on the internet…

The voices of the people on my television and computer screens have become so loud and so vitriolic that I don’t know who to believe anymore. I have grown callous to their arguments and suspicious of their intentions ~ do they really care? Are the statistics they are sharing from an unbiased source? Do they truly want change or are they trying to make a buck or a name for themselves? What is their agenda, really?…

And I’m not the only one who feels that way. The spirit of my countrymen has become so bitter and jaded that few are really listening anymore; we have become like partisan robots who immediately agree with everything our political party says or we vehemently disagree with our opponents. On every. single. issue.

When we don’t get our way on those issues, we become fatalistic, as if America is dead. Freedom is dead. The “land of plenty” is a cursed wilderness…

But I’m looking around me, and even though I strongly disagree with many of the views our President stands for, and even though laws are being passed that cause my heart to painfully groan within me, and even though there are a thousand things I would change if I were given the power to do so, this is what I see…

I have good roads to drive on.

The mail is delivered to my mailbox every single day.

I am free to worship God as loudly and as consistently as I choose.

I have thousands of people I have never met who are training or are already trained to protect me – with their lives – if the need arises.

I have the right to school my children at home, and if I change my mind, there is a fully-equipped public school minutes from our house.

There are no bathrooms or water fountains in my town or my state or my country that can be used by only one race.

There are police officers, and firemen, and medical professionals a phone call away if I need help, day or night.

There is a grocery store down the street that contains more food choices in its tiny square footage than people have probably ever had in the history of the world.

I am a stay-at-home mom who is married to a pastor of a small church, and with our modest income, we still fit in the top 5% of the world’s wealthiest people. Because we’re Americans.

And no matter what the media says about which way our country is going, I still have my vote and I still have my freedom of speech.

I’m sure a Christian from ancient Greece or a suffragette from the 1900’s or a black man from the enslaved South or a Jew from Hitler’s Germany would absolutely love to trade lives with me, even if just for one day.

And so here’s what I want for my country as election day draws near…

some solidarity.

some patriotism.

some gratitude.

some respect for the office of President, no matter my political party.

some kindness.

I want to be heard without being labeled a close-minded conservative or a bigot or a nutcase Southern Baptist and I want to share my honest opinions and heartfelt beliefs without being called “judgmental”.

I want to hear the opinions of others with compassion and understanding, even if I know in my heart I will never agree with them.

I want to be well-informed and knowledgeable about our country’s state of affairs without being used as a pawn in a political game or to increase a show’s television ratings.

I want to use my most important tool of freedom, my vote, with pride and conviction.

I want to use my most important tool for lasting change, prayer, and faithfully beseech God on behalf of our nation and my fellow citizens, every single day.

I want to instruct the children in my sphere that change, in a democracy, always begins with you, not the folks in Washington D.C. or the people in high places.

I want to treat President Obama and his lovely wife the same way I wish my beloved G.W. and Laura would have been treated, disagreeing without disrespecting, keeping scorn and bitterness from my heart, and always remembering that presidents are not kings and will not sit in our White House forever.

I want to have faith and hope in a system of checks and balances and in a democracy that swings one way and then usually the other.

I want to enjoy hard work and stay busy enough that I stay out of trouble, and I want my neighbors and townspeople to do the same thing.

I want to worship the Creator as faithfully and boldly as I can while the opportunity is mine.

I want to study the unadulterated history of my country and teach it to my children, learning from our mistakes and celebrating our God-aided triumphs.

I want to use my rights to speak up – in a kind and effective way – for those who have no voice, specifically for those in the womb.

And mostly, I want to feel safe within my borders. Safe to speak, safe to live, safe to raise my children how I see fit, safe to worship, and safe to continue my personal pursuit of happiness.

And the funny thing is, when I tune out the voices on Fox News or CNN or in the comments sections of blogs and internet news stories or from the more out-of-touch celebrities on talk shows, I notice something: America, in my neck of the woods, is almost exactly what I’m looking for.

Of course there are things we must improve. There are freedoms and reforms we must continue to pursue like hounds. There might even be as much wrong as there is right…

But for a moment, I want to celebrate the good things, and thank God for this unprecedented chance to live in a free America, while begging Him for grace and guidance to use my freedoms and my blessings wisely and efficiently and, most importantly, generously.

I encourage you to unplug yourself from the talking heads (and mayors!) today and see with fresh eyes and a grateful heart what you’ve been given.

A beautiful homeland…

previously unheard of freedom and democracy…

a local community to support you…

hope for change…

and the most beautiful and breathtaking “Kuhmerican” flag that waves on nearly every corner, just for you to enjoy. Whether you are supporting Chick-fil-a in the weeks to come, boycotting them, or neither, I hope you’ll at least take a minute to stop and touch their flagpole…

And, if this post resonated with you, I just have to say it: “My pleasure!”

~

As ever, feel free to share your thoughts with me, but I will only publicly share comments that will be edifying to my readers. Save the drama for another blogga.

22 thoughts on “A Craving for America

  1. This is lovely. =) And a great reminder that many, many things are still good and right and true in America. It’s super easy to forget that sometimes, with all the ugliness online and on TV. Sigh.

    I really enjoy your writing style and I find myself nodding (sometimes vehemently) when I read your posts. Glad I found your blog recently!

  2. I just want to tell you that I have just recently discovered your blog. I shared the famous “real man” blog with my daughters and daughter-in-laws and my daughter-in-law, Tami Hunt Shackelford, said that you guys know each other. Anyway, I mainly wanted to encourage you to keep writing. I couldn’t agree with you more on your viewpoint in this blogpost. We are not a perfect country – never have been ( regardless of what people say). Our country has always had sin issues – always will. We are a country made up of sinful people – some forgiven and in Christ, but nevertheless sinful. We never need to be ok with that, but whatever our problems, we are still the greatest country in the world. As Christians, we should be spreading hope ( in Christ) instead of gloom and doom. Thanks for taking the time to share your heart. People are reading!!

  3. I just recently discovered your blog and am in awe at the way God uses your words to express such wisdom. Thank you for allowing yourself to be a channel of blessing.

  4. Thank you so much for this blog. A little nudge was definitely needed to remind people we do still live in a wonderful country. So blessed by your blog!!

  5. This was beautifully written, and I couldn’t agree more. I just started following your blog recently and I really appreciate your viewpoint. This is encouraging and an important reminder for conservatives and liberals alike. First, we are Americans.

  6. What a blessing and encouragement. You echo the sentiments of my heart with words I could not begin to put together in such a touchingly beautiful way. Thank you!

  7. Another spot in post, my friend. I just hope and wish that the world can learn to respect each other a little more. If my conservative self is supposed to be accepting of those that make liberal life choices, then I hope they can have some respect for MY less then liberal choices. A little bit of respect and acceptance on all sides would go a long way!

  8. Mrs. Gore, you are a wonderful writer. I found you through your magic mike post. I love reading your writing and I just hope that in some way you can be encouraged to keep writing with such fearlessness. Thank you so much for your wisdom and openness.

  9. Hope someone will post this entry in the Washington Post or New York Times because you speak so succinctly for so many of us who think like this but have a hard time putting it in words. You have expressed my thoughts almost to a “T”. Excellent job and thank you!

  10. Mrs. Gore, you are such a blessing to me. Thank you for your faithfulness in communicating what God lays on your heart and for being a small but significant part of what keeps me centered as I try my best to enjoy, rather than endure, life in the 21st century USA.

  11. Awesome! You are awesome!! Do it to it Mrs. Gore! Mrs. Gore for President. Well maybe Mr. Gore for President. (You’d be the lady in charge) 🙂
    Anyways. Amen! Well said. Keep speaking and writing. You are doing an amazing job!

  12. Thank you! I have been feeling so much anger and hurt and frustration over everything in the news. I wanted to rally so much for Chick-fil-A (we will still go to eat good food on Wed.)

    God is good and very much alive. I need to do what I am called to do and share with my loved ones.

  13. I’m a new follower of your blog, thanks to the “Real Man” post, and just wanted to say thank you for your words of encouragement. Eloquent, fair, thought-provoking, and in my opinion, dead on.

  14. Yes, yes, yes! We all need a little perspective. Sometimes, I think we Americans forget how blessed and fortunate we really are. Food always on the shelves in the stores… lights that nearly always function… clean water to drink right out of the tap… schools for our children… and the list goes on. Do we realize what a rarity these things are in many, many parts of the world, and how many people would (as you said) gladly trade places with us in a heartbeat? This post offers a healthy dose of perspective! Thank you!

  15. I’ve been reading the Eric Metaxas book about Dietrich Bonhoeffer recently and have been struck by the censorship of the Christian church, in a “Christian” nation whose identity was as much Lutheran as it was German. It has helped me appreciate that in the U.S.A. we have freedom of speech and can worship at churches where pastors can freely express truth. That’s something I have been taking for granted.

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