It is a big, diverse, messy, raucous, star-spangled country, “from sea to shining sea,” as WFB liked to say. We have the good, the bad, and the ugly (and the great).
I was reading the sports pages, or their modern equivalent. Apparently, a man at a Texas Rangers game was taunting an Hispanic family, in a racist way. He has now been banned from the stadium. You can read about the episode here.
By the way, if you take Hispanics out of baseball — you’re not going to have baseball. Almost by themselves, they seem to be keeping our pastime alive, at least at the MLB level. I’m reminded of Asians — East Asians — in classical music. Have you walked the halls of a conservatory lately?
“Thank God for China,” said the late maestro Lorin Maazel, when I asked him about the future of classical music.
Anyway, back to the ballgame. “This is America,” people might say. “The racist taunter? Yup, that’s America, all right.” Well, it is and it isn’t. America is big (in more than one sense).
The Rangers offered the harassed family free tickets to another game. Moreover, a season-ticket holder offered his front-row seats to them, for another game. “I wanted to affirmatively do something and take some form of action,” he said. “I didn’t want to just read the story and think, ‘Ah, that’s terrible, I can’t believe someone did that.’”
Word of all this got around on Facebook. The mom in the family, Jessica Romero, reported, “I’ve gotten messages from Washington, D.C., Ohio, Louisiana, California, all over” — positive messages. “I’ve tried to respond, but there are so many. It’s kind of amazing to me how kind people are and the words they’re sending.”
That too is America.
We all remember the words to the Facts of Life song, don’t we? (It will depend on how old you are, true.) “You take the good, you take the bad, / You take them both and there you have / The facts of life, the facts of life.”
(Now I can’t get that song out of my head. If I’ve done it to you — sorry.)
A lot of people take something ugly and say, “This is America.” Others fasten on the positive and say, “This is America.” Again, it’s a messy world out there — wherever you live. Where there is man, there is mess. But as countries go . . .
“I’ll start worrying about America when people from every corner of the earth stop trying to get there,” Paul Johnson says. In a similar vein, George W. Bush says, “The line to get into America is long.” Are people stupid? Are they wrong to want to come to this motley land? No way.