Over the Memorial Day weekend, I did something I hadn't done in decades: Take in a live baseball game.
Me and the Gaybrarian had talked for years about taking in a game. We finally set a date and went. We had hotdogs and beers and watched my Doyers crush the Cubs. (It was quite satisfying seeing a stadium filled with bandwaggoning Cubs fans go home disappointed.)
There was one thing I had forgotten, one thing which I dreaded. The seventh inning rendition of "God Bless America".
This has become a tradition since the 9/11 attacks. And I always found the outre patriotism distasteful. I found the jingoism to be redolent of unbridled nationalism.
So, the 7th inning came, and we all stood for the song.
The song began, and I looked around me.
I saw people of all ethnicities, black, Latino, Asian, white, singing this song, united by a love of country. Yes, here, in the middle of liberal, godless Los Angeles. Most of them probably voted for Hillary Clinton, and yet they had lost no faith in their country.
I reflected on this for the rest of the day.
What the imposition of the Trump regime has done for me is realize how much I love this place where I was born. I'm not American by choice, but by accident of birth. My parents, fleeing Cuba, chose what I was to become. As such, I took it for granted.
But this is my country, as much as it is that of a Trump voter. I will argue that it is even more so my country.
Why? Because I'm a patriot of the idea of America, not of the reality.
I'm a patriot of the idea that the union is perfectable. I'm a patriot of the idea that out of many we become one. I'm a patriot of the idea that America always has a second chance to fix what it has done wrong.
Those who voted for Trump have an idea of America as some place of blood and soil, where only some people are accorded full rights.
My America isn't of blood and soil. My America is of belief, of work, of buying into the idea that we are all one big family, wherever we come from, whomever were our ancestors. We're not Americans merely out of an accident of birth, but by conscious decision. This is what's unique about America. It's the idea which matters, not the plot of dirt.
This is my country. I've never felt it more keenly than since Jan. 20.
Sure, for a while I flirted with CalExit. But why should we leave? We're not the ones destroying the Union. We're the engines of innovation, of progress, of freedom. Let the revanchists, the reactionaries leave and create their own Randian paradise. We'll be here perfecting the Union.
This is as much my country as it is that of a Trump voter. More so, as I don't want to inflict pain on the weak, or create a restricted view of what it is to be American.
Deal with it. I'm not going anywhere.