Sometimes I choose a film to watch simply because I know I want to write about a specific topic. In this case, I did that even though I thought I was unlikely to enjoy the film itself. I was right about that, I didn’t enjoy the film at all. At the same time, now that I’m sitting here, I’m also not sure anymore what I have to say on the topic.
All of which is an overly complicated way to say that I’m figuring this out as I go along.
American Exceptionalism has never been an idea I believed in. It’s just not in my nature or my world view. Perhaps that’s partially a natural result of having been raised in a family with a strong connection to another country. It’s definitely given me a broader perspective. It also gave me an appreciation for the many truly wonderful things that we do have in the USA. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with that dichotomy. I’ve long felt that love of country can be ok, if it’s an adult kind of love.
Children love things and need them to be perfect. Adult love is a love that understands that nothing is perfect, and that loving something still allows room for improvement. In fact, I would argue that loving something should make it more likely you want it to improve. Because you see the full potential, and want to see the object of your love achieve it.
It’s a hard time right now, to love this country, even with that adult understanding. We’re failing in so many directions, all at once. The issues that I’ve wanted to see change are also still so prevalent, and many feel like they are getting worse instead of better. The lack of any acknowledgement of the mistakes of the past. The lack of any will to change them to better the future. It’s hard. We cannot come together and move forward until we are honest with ourselves about our past. Until we deal with our past.
There’s a moment in this film, where the main character goes to the US Embassy in Paris, and it’s a supermarket. Somehow that sums everything up for me.