Here is a bit of hemming and hawing about what I love and don’t love about my country:

It is strange. The things I love about my country are the very things I hate. I love the rawness of the American spirit and I hate its crudeness. I love Ameri­can boldness and I despise its brashness. I love Twinkies and Ripples chips and Oreos—they reflect a special brand of American brilliance-and I also hate their aftertaste. I love the American passion for independence and yet I hate the way it dissolves to selfishness. I hate American sloppiness but I love dressing casually in cut-offs and a T-shirt and being able to go to a restaurant that way if I want. I adore the extravagance in any direction that is possible in the U.S., but I despise the rampant materialism. I love the direct look in an American’s eye, and I love the basic honesty, but I also hate the lack of style and politeness. I love and I hate the lack of rules for social interaction. I love devil-may-care and I love the perfect centerpiece. I love the egalitarianism, the true story that in America you can rise from rags to riches, that you can be born poor and gain respect. Most of all, I love the sense of possibility that suffuses the air of my country. In America, you can ride over the horizon.

Think of the things you love and the things you dislike about your home coun­try. Lay them out in specifics.

Of Many Lands: Journal of a Traveling Childhood

 

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