The Secret Soul of America

images (2)I know a lot of folks from other nations who have a poor perception of Americans. They usually refer to wars, police actions, attacks, and poor choice of presidents as their reason for believing something terrible about us. They are missing the key to changing all those terrible things we do-
We are not bad people. In fact, we have a secret soul.

I know, you’re thinking of the blues, or of rap, or of Mark Twain, or about our affable naivetie. This is not what I mean.
Mr. Rogers. He is, in fact, the secret soul of the US.

(more after the jump)

Americans believe in sharing. We want to share. Sometimes, though, we get greedy or angry. The best way to convince an american to cease being greedy or angry, though, is to imply that they are not being nice to others.

We want to be good.

mr-rogers-waveWe just get so afraid. We have a lot to lose- so we think- and we are worried about it. Any american, even the most patriotic or fervent, will admit that it’s not that they think others are bad all in all-they just know there are SOME bad people out there.

If you want to know the way to an american’s heart, know that it is finding a way for us to be good. If you can help us to be good people, without telling us we are horrible, or making us feel bad, we are more than willing to do things differently. We’re very easy to convince, actually. It’s funny beacuse we like to be stubborn, but once we’re left alone with the results of an argument we often give in. We just don’t want to look stupid, or be frowned upon.


This is applicable to all americans. We all have Mr Rogers buried in our souls. Even a hardened sociopath wants to be regarded as worthwhile, doesn’t want to be treated badly. Wants to be thought of as a benefactor. We like art, music, dancing. We aren’t very good at those things, we’re not sure how much they’re worth in money, but we like them.


images (3)Americans like to help. We’re naive. We’re foolish. We want the world, our neighbors, to love us and treat us well even though we make mistakes. Part of our national character is the inability to admit mistakes. We will try to fix them, we will completely change our actions, we will give in in every conceivable way, but to admit a mistake is difficult for us. Allow us ways to save face, let us help. Give us ways to be good people. We’ll do it. We try. We’re idiots, though.

We’ve never been bullied, really. So when it happens we kind of freak out. World, you can be our friend. We like you. We just don’t know how to handle bad people, really, and we want to be good people. The best part of us is really good. Give it love, and it will grow. That’s the secret soul of america; the urge to be good and to be a friend, and we want to trust people. Help us out a little.

We’re the people in your neighborhood.

“What do you do?”

What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong…
And nothing you do seems very right?

What do you do? Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag?
Or see how fast you go?

It’s great to be able to stop
When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:

I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish.
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman
And a boy can be someday a man.

originally Published on: Nov 5, 2008