At the beginning of this year, I saw U2 perform at their 30th-anniversary concert of  Joshua Tree album. It was a humble, reflective celebration of what is probably Bono and U2’s most famous album. There is an emotion that while the album touches on social issues around the world is undeniably American. Bono has stated in several interviews that he loves America and what it has been for the Irish people.

During a San Diego concert, Bono spoke these words: America “has become our second home,” Bono said. “It’s not just a country, is it? … It’s a great idea; it’s one of the best ideas ever.” “A country built on hope cannot be driven by fear,” Bono went on to say in the brief address in between songs. “A country founded on equality cannot allow hate to pull it apart.”*

America is a nation of immigrants. Unless you are a Native American, your ancestors came from another country usually in search of a better life. It is a crazy thought that people in a day and age where they were not as readily connected as we are now would leave all things familiar to travel to a land they have never been. Not only a place they have never been but a land full of danger and trials. My first question is why? What would drive someone to that place? Well the answer I have always grown up being told is freedom, and while that is very true, it is an oversimplification.

Freedom alone isn’t the only thing that draws people to America; it’s goodness. It’s the words written on Lady liberty. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” –Emma Lazarus Those words send a message of hope in a nation built by refugees of political, religious, or economic persecution.

It seems though, that we have chosen to forget that part of our history. When I look that those in the conservative thought camp I hear constant anti-immigrant sentiments, and the fact is none of this is new. The Irish were met with hatred and contempt, and the newcomers versus old comers have been a battle waged since the inception of America.

It seems that when we have tasted of the goodness of America, we have no interest in sharing the blessings.

What it means to be American is to be able to be something new, it isn’t just freedom. It is the freedom to dream and to know that the only thing stopping you is you. While you may believe that the systems are out to destroy you, the opportunity to succeed still can be done in the USA. It is that ideal that has brought millions into this country. Maybe the system is crushing you, and all you can see is the injustice. Instead of pointing our fingers at immigrants and others in general. Maybe it’s time to better ourselves.

U2 has released a single off their new album Songs of Experience. The track Get Out of Your Own Way I think speaks to all of us.

Love hurts
Now you’re the girl who’s left with no words
Your heart’s a balloon, but then it bursts
It doesn’t take a cannon, just a pin
Your skin’s not covering
And resistance
Love has got to fight for its existence
The enemy has armies for assistance
The amorist, the glamorous, the kiss
A fist, listen to this, oh

[Chorus: Bono]
Get out of your own way, oh, I
Get out of your own way, oh, I

[Post-Chorus: Bono]
I could sing it to you all night, all night
If I could, I’d make it alright, alright
Nothing’s stopping you except what’s inside
I can help you, but it’s your fight, your fight

[Verse 2: Bono]
Fight back
Don’t take it lyin’ down, you got to bite back
The face of liberty’s starting to crack
She had a plan up until she got smacked in the mouth
And it all went south
Like freedom
The slaves are lookin’ for someone to lead them
The master’s lookin’ for someone to need him
The promised land is there for those who need it most
And Lincoln’s ghost said…

[Chorus: Bono]
Get out of your own way, oh, I
Get out of your own way, oh, I

[Post-Chorus: Bono]
I could sing it to you all night, all night
If I could, I’d make it alright, alright
Nothing’s stopping you except what’s inside
I can help you, but it’s your fight, your fight

[Chorus: Bono]
Get out of your own way
Get out of your own way
Get out of your own way

[Outro: Kendrick Lamar]
Blessed are the arrogant
For there is the kingdom of their own company
Blessed are the superstars
For the magnificence in their light
We understand better our own insignificance
Blessed are the filthy rich
For you can only truly own what you give away
Like your pain

We are the only ones who make ourselves victims and only we can decide who we want to be. The opportunity to be more is what America is made of. This is the freedom that caused people to sell everything they owned. This is the future that so many died for, and give everything in defense of. The opportunity to become more is the American dream. That is what it means to be an American.

*Source: http://www.glennbeck.com/2017/09/26/a-country-founded-on-equality-bono-encourages-americans-with-this-stirring-speech/?utm_source=glennbeck&utm_medium=contentcopy_link

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