An open letter to the world from an American in Sweden: We won’t back down… from love

When America is at its best, our bond + our spirit… it’s unbreakable. – Jason Aldean

It’s hard to be an American in Sweden in times of tragedy. Honestly, it’s just freaking been hard to be an American in Sweden since last year’s election.

I can’t be there to fight for what’s right… as beliefs, laws, and ideals of regular Americans are being stripped away and threatened by injustice. And, I can’t deal with all of the Europeans’ questions to me about what Americans were thinking when they elected the current president. People are starting to tire of all of the crazy news coming out of the US, and I’ve heard more than one person say, ” They elected him, so we don’t need to feel sorry for them. Just let them solve their problems:” Like, for real, you fellow Americans, the US is truly isolating itself.

And this whole gun control debate. It makes no sense to anyone I encounter here. They just don’t get it, and I struggle to find the words to excuse our American idiocy when it comes to guns. It just doesn’t make sense that nothing can be done to put restrictions on buying guns. The whole issue is incomprehensible to others (and myself).

The hardest part of being an American in Sweden, though, is not being able feel that community spirit that exists all over the US. You see most people are just good people wanting to live their life, love their loved ones, and follow their dreams. There’s much more that unites Americans than divides them. It’s just that the extreme voices are the ones that are yelling. In reality, should you just drive around and meet people, you would find positivity, hospitality, openness, and inspiration.

I am deeply ashamed and exhausted from the political stuff, but I am also deeply proud to be American. Because, ultimately, people are good. And, even when we disagree, we still find something in common.

Case in point: I’m not a huge country music fan. But, I do love me some Saturday Night Live. And SNL has been a voice that reflects the truth of the times throughout the years, pushing the boundaries and lifting up what’s really going on through humor. It brings us togethr. We might not always agree with how SNL interprets something, but it is almost always on the right side of history. Pushing us forward.

Last night was no different.

The opening skit was not a skit. It was country singer Jason Aldean (who I don’t really like, musically, personally) who started the show last night. Jason was the artist on stage when the shooter began his attack in Las Vegas just a few days ago. So it was powerful enough that Jason opened the show. But, what he said and what he sang, made even more of an impression.

Jason spoke for a few seconds + then sang, the legend, Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”. I got goosebumps, cried, fist-pumped in the air, and danced around. Goddamn I felt proud, determined, energized, and hopeful. Now, that is the America I know. All kinds of people in one place, being inspired to live with love. Rallying around love. Refusing to back down to the voices of hate, injustice, and violence. Resolving to take back the country. Or at least, to take away the negativity and remember that which unites us.

Yes, I saw and felt all of that throughout Jason Aldean’s performance.

And so I just had to write this post.

I am a freaking American. And I am damn proud of it, no matter what anyone else may think or say. We, Americans, are amazing. Not the best in the world, because no one is. We simply are part of this amazing world, just like everyone else. With our own trials, tribulations, and strengths.

So, I’m not gonna hide in shame or pretend to not be American. I’m gonna embrace all of our American free-spirited, individualistic, diverse ways; I’m gonna keep fighting for American + global human rights here on my blog; and I’m gonna never give up hope on believing in the beauty and hope that can be found in all countries.

So basically, dear world, I’ll do what I can, using my uniqueness, for all of us. And I won’t back down.

love, liz.

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