The other day I made a lighthearted post about how in Starbucks they always ask my name and then proceed to put someone else’s name on my cup. Most people had lighthearted comments to make. But, one friend asked what I was doing buying coffee from such an “Un-American” company. I deleted his comment. Afterwards I regretted that I deleted it. Instead, I wish I had answered him. So I will do so now.
The person who made this comment is a friend. He is a good guy. He loves his family. He loves his country. He considers himself a Christian. I respect him.
But, here is the thing. I know too many people, who are much like my friend, who have been encouraged to think that people who think differently than they, are “Un-American.” There is this concept that “real Americans” think a certain way. Anyone who dares think differently is either un-American, or “they don’t love this county as much as I do.“
There is no “One Right Way” to think in our great country. Our nation was built on debating and discussing the way to our future. There was never a consensus on what people were supposed to think. We are a diverse country. I think that is something to be celebrated. It is possible to have unity among diversity. But we will never have uniformity. Personally, I am glad of that.
So here is the point. America is a big country with room for lots of different ideas. You and I may not agree on how taxes should be administered. You and I may not agree on the role of government in corporate issues. You and I may not agree on Universal Healthcare. You and I may not agree on marriage rights. You and I may not agree on government funded social safety nets. You and I may not agree on Colin Kaepernick’s protest. When you disagree with me I believe you are wrong. But I will never believe you are un-American. Believing in a different pathway to the best future does not make one un-American. We have to learn to accept that fact that there are people who disagree with us who love this country as much as we do.
BUT, to remain willfully ignorant of the facts that don’t fit our point of view, to question the patriotism of everyone who disagrees with us, to fear diversity, now to me that seems un-American.