Monday, June 18, 2007

Finding America

I'm sitting in a bookstore/cafe in downtown Little Rock. It's raining outside and I just realized I left my car window open a little. I slept in my car last night and will do so again tonight.

I walked around the state capitol building and was amused to note a replica of the Liberty Bell minus its famous crack on the east side of the building, and on the west side, an eternal flame of freedom which had ceased to burn.

Besides being the state capitol, Little Rock may now be best known for the site of the William Jefferson Clinton Library, erected in 2004, which I visited this morning, and was remarkable in its ability to stir emotion in me.

I came of age during the man's presidency. From the sixth grade to my sophomore year in college, I led my life growing ever more conscious of politics and world events, and always with President Clinton in the background. It's funny how we look at world events in comparison to our own lives. As I dutifully browsed through the multimedia displays, I would come to a display of Clinton signing this or that treaty and think, "Hey, that was the day I won the state cup, " or, "that was the day I found out I got into Bates."

It was all well done, but let's just say I wasn't walking around thinking, "Oh man, I can't wait to blog about this." It's only now, still stuck in Arkansas on a rainy day with ample time to reflect, that I feel the emotion.

What struck me this morning was the man's seeming, unconditional love for this country. It's an admirable trait in a president, one I think we can see no matter who the president is. Despite a president's power tripping, poor decisions, a legacy of infamy or obscurity, it's his love of the country that gets him (or her) to the position in the first place. Among other things, of course.

I gripe for comedic purposes, but it should be known I hold a similar love for this country, and it feels like a privilege to wander my homeland for so long and let this love be reinforced by the the good, the bad, and the ugly all put together in one unforgettable summer.

American Tune by Paul Simon

Many's the time I've been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I've often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I'm alright, I'm alright
I'm just weary to my bones
Still, you don't expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far a-way from home,
so far away from home

And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
or driven to its knees
but it's alright, it's alright
for we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of theroad we're traveling on
I wonder what's gone wrong
I can't help it, I wonder what has gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul ROSE unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying

We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the a-ge's most uncertain hours
and sing an American tune
Oh, and it's alright, it's alright, it's alright
You can't be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow's going to be another working day
And I'm trying to get some rest
That's all I'm trying to get some rest.


Kirsten said...

Have you ridden Little Rock's historic trolley?

Scotticus said...

No, I saw it go by a few times though. I rode a trolley in Memphis.

Mandy said...

Scott, I'm just catching up with your blog, very amusing. Keep having fun on your great adventure!