I've been thinking a lot about what it is to be an American lately. On one hand, yikes. On the other hand, maybe I've just watched too much Aaron Sorkin, but I so deeply believe in what America can be.
(I know, I made a post like this at the beginning of July. Bear with me. It ends up differently, I promise!)
Beyond ridiculous, it would be foolish, ignorant, and pointless to ignore the atrocities that the United States has committed. We are definitely the country of modern day mass incarceration and an incredibly racist "war on drugs." The Japanese internment camps. Sandy Hook. The genocide of the Native Americans. The fact that we're built on the back of slavery. The whitewashing of Asian narratives like Ghost in the Shell and Death Note. And how I literally just got the NY Times notification that the Republicans changed Senate rules to block a filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee, despite having blocked President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland.
We're just also a country that's full of people who are trying to do better. For all that we're a country of civil rights abuses, we're also a country of people protesting them and really believing they can change. We're the country of Alexander Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda. We're the country of the American Dream, which never quite seems to die since we all do keep feeling hope for the future; eight and a half years ago, Barack Obama won the presidency because he tapped into that. We're the first responders who ran into the Twin Towers as they were burning to save as many people as they could.
It might be more accurate to say that I believe in the idea of America more than the reality of America. Because, like I said before, yikes. I don't even want to go into the current administration and how terrible everything surrounding it is.
I just think that the idea of America is something beautiful and worth striving towards, and I see that we do on a regular basis.
In that vein is why I'm producing a staged reading of Almost, Maine by John Cariani this Monday!
(See? I told you this would be different from my annual post around the Fourth of July!)
Almost, Maine is a play about everyday people in this average small town dealing with love and the human condition. What my brilliant director, Charlotte Grady, and I have done is assemble as diverse a cast with people of as many different skin colors, nationalities, and religions as we could. Because, despite our backgrounds and how we look, we're all Americans, and we're far more alike than we are different.
Which is, I think, the whole point.
Also, all the money we raise is going to go to the ACLU. Because they are just such a huge part of the solution.
If you're interested in seeing it, you should get your tickets now! They're on sale at almostmainetbg.brownpapertickets.com. (I'm also acting in it, if that helps!)
There's also an option there if you can't make it but just want to donate to the ACLU through us.
Because we're not in a great place right now. But I genuinely do believe that we can do better.