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"The America I Know"
(An invitation to non-Americans overseas.)
What you see on television is not America.
Those people are actors.
Those are not their clothes, cars, homes,
nor even their words.
The Americans I know
donít act or talk like the characters on TV.
Weíre not all rich.
(I know Misty and I arenít.)
Most of our friends are not doctors, lawyers, cops,
news anchorpeople, celebrities, or models,
driving around in chic clothes and new cars.
Our friends mostly live in modest homes, apartments, or trailers,
and drive vehicles that are not shiny new.
They work hard trying to make ends meet.
Did you know this?
There are thousands of check advance places here
that will lend you money on your car until payday
at an exorbitant rate of interest.
Those businesses are booming
Most of us want to be thought of as good people.
Itís an ethical inheritance.
We may not always live up to it,
but when we donít, we usually feel guilty.
I try to help others when I can,
and I often get help from friends when itís needed.
I have never seen a drug bust,
or heard anybody yell: ďFreeze!Ē
On TV you see only the extremes of American life.
If we wanted to see real life,
we could turn it off and stare at each other.
The rich and powerful bigshots cause most of the trouble.
They donít hang out in our neighborhood.
If there are any TV shows that look a little bit like America,
Iíd probably vote for:
The King of Queens;
Grace Under Fire;
Everybody Loves Raymond;
My only relationship to big oil
is the spot in my driveway.
I think I speak for many of us when I say:
Iím not particularly fond of the rich.
I have never oppressed a third world country.
My idea of fine dining is a couple of chili dogs.
I would like to lose ten pounds.
I worry about getting old.
I admire and respect the older people
who went through the depression and World War Two.
I get a little choked up when Ray Charles sings
ďAmerica The BeautifulĒ.
We come in all different sizes and shapes,
as opposed to the thin athletic types on TV.
If you want to see America, come on over,
but not to Disney World.
Start at Wal-Mart
America is a lot of different places, people, and scenery.
Personalities, accents, and customs change
in the space of a few miles.
Hereís the point Iím working up to:
None of my acquaintances
ever did anything to the people in the Mid-East.
Weíre still wondering why they hate us.
They donít even know us.
Copyright © January 2, 2002 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.