I was sitting in a local bookstore not long ago and overhead a conversation that seemed emblematic of so much of what is going on in this country today. A young man lamented his choice of a mate but insisted he loved her dearly. But every effusive claim of undying fealty came coupled with a “but” that amounted to how he wanted her to change so she would be even better.
The two young men in their late 20s or early 30s sat sipping latte and talking of their world and I could not help but hear as they sat immediately behind me. One was a perfectly representative slacker type. Baseball cap on backwards, sports jersey, reedy mustache, and the newest sports gym shoes revealed his personae. His friend was a backpack sporting, ponytailed wearing, be-speckled type with sandaled feet poking out of the bottom of his torn jeans. They were both pretty representative of generation now with their talk of video games, their admiration of Obama — though without any factual knowledge from which to justify that admiration — as well as their PDAs, cell phones and laptops computers all glowing with use.
After a while their conversation turned to the ponytailed fellow’s marriage. The slacker apparently wasn’t married, or so the conservation led me to believe, so the ponytailed one held the lead on the subject. It all started when slacker boy asked how the woman was? I am sure he regretted the error.
Ponytail began by saying, “Oh, you know. She’s great. You know, Jessie being Jessie.” (Name changed to protect the innocent) Of course, one could just hear the “but” about to emerge unbidden. “But, man, I wish she’d stop being so… you know… so like Jessie!”
Slacker boy mumbled some sort of reply, but it didn’t detract ponytail from moaning onward.
“Dude, she’s like suddenly into this whole ‘America’ thing, you know,” ponytail went on. “She keeps putting up the flag on the pole on our garage, she has those sticker thingies about the troops on the back of the car, she even wanted to go to one of those teabagger protests last week,” he whined. “I mean, I’m all like what the hell… ya know?”
“God, man I love her of course. But, jeeze Fox News? Why do we have to have that stuff on all the time?”
Slacker boy finally asked the seminal question at this point. “Man, if she is so out there why do you stay with her?”
“I told you I lover her, ya know? She’s really got a kind heart, she is good with the kids. And, hell, dude, she’s still hot! I just wish I could get her to forget about all this ‘America’ stuff and get with it. I can’t believe how she’s changed since we first met. It’s a good thing I love her or I would just walk out! She didn’t vote for Obama, ya know?”
Slacker laughed at that. “Dude, you didn’t vote at all, so what’er you sayin’?”
“Yeah, well. I was on Obama’s side, though.”
“Yeah,” replied slacker boy.
After that part of the conversation, ponytail got a phone call after which he told his pal that the “ball and chain” was ready for him to pick her up from where ever she was waiting for him. The conversation ended, but it set me to thinking.
Ponytail professed his undying love for his lady fair. Yet, every part of her intellectual being seemed anathema to him. And the question from slacker boy seemed particularly salient. How could ponytail really love his wife if he didn’t like anything about her but her looks?
I don’t see how he could.
On reflection, I found ponytail to be perfectly emblematic of an American liberal. Not just with his relationship with his wife, but with his relationship to his country. Ponytail couldn’t stand that whole “America thing” that his wife seemed to love. Ponytail wanted it to go away to be replaced by his vague idea of what he thought is the proper America. It was obviously one that didn’t include the flag, patriotism, or Fox News. It didn’t include any thoughts about American tradition, history or a respect for our troops. That all seemed gauche to ponytail.
Yet, even as he ticked off as unwanted every traditionally American part of America that his wife loved, all the things that he didn’t seem to love, he still professed to love his wife despite that she loved America. And why did he love her? Because she was “hot” and because she looked good he still imagined he loved her. And this is also a representative reaction to their own country that America’s leftists exhibit. They don’t love what America is. They love what they think America looks like. In other words, they love their own idealized conception of what America could be if only it would jettison all that “America stuff.”
But, the simple truth is that they don’t love America. They love what they want to make America into. They hate America’s history, principles, ideals, and practices. They want all that wiped away replaced by their new version of an America that never was.
The simple fact of the matter is that you can’t love something that you want to change in such massive ways.
Ponytail didn’t really love his wife. He may have felt trapped by his marriage, forced to say he “loved” her so that he wouldn’t look so bad for sticking with her, but it didn’t seem as if he loved what she truly was. This is also similar to leftists. They know it’s bad to say what they really feel: that they don’t really love this country. They know people would be shocked, some even outraged, by that admission. So, they pretend to love America all the while hoping to eliminate everything that makes it America.
The reality is, though, that ponytail wanted something else. He didn’t love his wife for what she was. In this he is a perfect reflection of the American left. They don’t love America for what it is. They love their own ideas of what they want America to be. Not what she is.