Editor’s Note: Is America Still Worth It? 

(This piece comes with a little help from Rufus Wainwright)

Each day in America feels like 10 years. There are daily shootings, workers are overworked and underpaid, public school systems are underfunded, so much political posturing and corruption, race relations are certainly at a bottom, and improvements in any or all of the above seem highly unlikely. 

Rufus Wainwright is playing in Louisville with the Louisville Orchestra on Sept. 30 and I hope that, even though he’s scheduled to play songs from his “Want One” and “Want Two” albums, he makes room for this one song from a different album, “Going to a Town.”  Why? 

Well let’s take a look at some of the lyrics. 

The song begins like this: 

But I don’t know where I’m going

Searching for that place

It’s not inside me

I wonder where I’ll go

Don’t we always linger

‘Cause we know this ain’t had no good

I’m going to a town that has already been burnt down

I’m going to a place that has already been disgraced

I’m gonna see some folks who have already been let down

I’m so tired of America

The last line, which is repeated throughout the song says it all. I’m so tired of America. I’m not the only one and I know that we keep trying and trying to move forward and make it better but sometimes, does it feel like ‘horrible’ is winning? Sure, we’ve rejoiced and laughed in the face of Trump’s mugshots but until that bloated windbag is behind bars or paraded in the streets with a scarlet letter, then why are we cheering? Even if those things happen, is America any better?

America is a nation of band-aid solutions. Nothing ever truly gets fixed but we are great at kicking the can down the road and hoping someone else will fix the problems we’re either too stupid or too lazy to remedy. In this last year, with all of the changes at LEO and in looking around the world, it tracks that I’m having a bit of a gloom right now. Is America still worth it?

I’m gonna make it up for all of The Sunday Times

I’m gonna make it up for all of the nursery rhymes

They never really seem to want to tell the truth

I’m so tired of you, America

Making my own way home

Ain’t gonna be alone

I’ve got a life to lead, America

I’ve got a life to lead

I know, I know, I can hear you saying it, “But..but…Freedom.” Is it free whenever you go to a movie, or school, or a shopping mall, or any public festival that you’re hypervigilant about not getting shot in the next mass shooting? How long will we look over our shoulders, searching every angry or slightly irregular face for hints of them being a killer?  

How long will we pay the high costs of healthcare that doesn’t really restore health nor seem to care at all about the people it treats. Again, even our system of health kicks the can down the road hoping someone else will convince Americans to stop eating sugar, start moving more when the rest of our systems add more sugar to our diets, move us farther away from places to walk, to move, to breathe the clean air so we can do all of those things. We’re being overloaded with giant apartment developments eating away at land that could grow good, clean, healthy food in the face of American farms being shut down and the best products being shipped overseas while giving scraps to the American public. 

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m feeling cynical about America. What is America, right now?

I don’t want to hear about freedom but I do want us all to reflect on the ideas that America claims and what America actually is. Do we think it’s okay, and how long will we kick the can down the road before we demand that America lives up to its promises? 

Tell me, do you really think you go to hell for having loved?

Tell me, enough of thinking everything that you’ve done is good

I really need to know

After soaking the body of Jesus Christ in blood

I’m so tired of America