“I’m so tired of you America. ” I attended a Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra concert last week where Canadian singer and songwriter Rufus Wainwright was the guest artist. One song he performed Going to Town repeatedly uses the line “I’m so tired of you America.” Wainwright wrote Going to Town in 2007. At the time he said in an interview that there were so many issues he felt the United States was dealing with in a misguided way. The lyrics of Going to Town reference attitudes to gay marriage, the close ties between religion and politics, the tendency to rewrite history and not admit mistakes of the past, and the way the strongest country in the world wields its power over less powerful nations. Last Friday as Rufus Wainwright performed in Winnipeg he suggested that what is going on in America right now, nearly a decade after he wrote Going to Town, gives a whole new meaning to the words “I’m so tired of you America.” Wainwright’s remarks resonated with me because there are things about America that make me tired too.
I’m tired of hearing about Donald Trump. It is hard to believe that a presidential candidate can espouse racism, bigotry, religious intolerance and misogyny and still remain popular. The public needs to know about Trump’s outrageous viewpoints, but after months of hearing about them one does grow weary and wish the media would focus on something more edifying.
I am tired of hearing about one mass shooting after another in America. According to a recent New York Times article gun violence takes the lives of nearly a hundred people every day in America. After years of hearing about the gun carnage in the United States one does grow weary because it would be so easy to stop the senseless killing as other countries like Australia have done, yet in America the right to bear arms somehow takes precedence over the lives of innocent people.
When I get to feeling tired of America like I do so often these days I try to remember that…..
I will never tire of the amazing natural beauty the United States has to offer. I’ve watched the sun rise on the Grand Canyon, skied the scenic mountains of Montana, gone swimming in the blue waters of Lake Superior, and done a fascinating drive through alligator alley in the Florida Keys.
I will never tire of the wonderful cultural opportunities one can enjoy in America. As I teenager I heard Pete Seeger perform at the Red Rocks theatre in Denver. I’ve seen Van Gogh’s Starry Night in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, visited Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond near Boston and watched the musical Cats at Detroit’s Fisher Theatre.
I will never tire of the many great folks who live in America. My former colleague, Elizabeth, teaches first graders in Austin, Texas and does professional workshops for teachers across the United States. My cousin Steve, in Oklahoma, has developed groundbreaking techniques in the field of eye surgery improving the quality of life for many people. My editor Rose, in Indiana, heads a team dedicated to producing educational materials which help kids learn about peace and justice. My former student Jonathan, in New York, makes a difference with his work at the Department of Environmental Protection.
Even though it’s easy these days to feel “so tired of America,” like Rufus Wainwright says in his song, I maintain hope for the weariness to abate because there are really so many things to appreciate about America too.