The Problem With ‘Love It Or Leave It’

By Bobby Mathews

Let’s say you inherit a house. It’s a great house, been in your family for generations. Once upon a time, it was the nicest one in the neighborhood. Walking tours would come through, and the gawkers would marvel at the beauty of the building and the gardens surrounding it.

But for you, the place isn’t just a house. It’s a home. It’s where you were raised, a place where your family put down roots. The door jamb to your old room still shows marks where your dad measured your height every year, and the glider rocker on the front porch is worn shiny and smooth from years of use.

And now it’s fallen to you to take care of it. You can keep up with most of the work that needs to be done. You can repaint the peeling shutters, and you can have the roof replaced when it needs it. If the plaster walls crack, you can fill and sand down those crevices with the best of them. You know how it is with houses; every day is a battle against entropy. But then something happens that is beyond your expertise. Say a pipe bursts in the basement. It floods. You bail water furiously. The shop vac runs continuously for hours as you try to dispose of all that water. On top of that, a fuse blows, sending your home into darkness.

You have some choices to make. Do you call a plumber? Do you clean up the basement? Or do you let the water stay and the mildew climb the walls? Do you replace the blown fuse? Or call an electrician to check if there’s a problem with the wiring?

Or you could just pack up and leave, right?

Wait. Let’s not be hasty. That house–that home–is your birthright. Why would you just leave that behind? There are things that are wrong with it, sure. Any house that reaches a certain age will have some problems. And some of them can be serious. Some of those problems require more work–more effort–than others. But you love the house. That house is where you live. It’s where you’ve grown up. You know its quirks. You know its space, its quiet corners, its vaulted ceilings.

I think about that house every time I hear some Trumpkin say “Love (America) or leave it.”

That’s insulting.

The United States is my home. It’s where I live. It’s where my family lives. It’s where I grew up. And like any family home, it’s got its problems. But I don’t buy into “Love it or leave it.” I never have. Instead, I say “Love it? Fix it.”

We have problems in this country, and we ignore them at our peril. The Trump administration is bound and determined to undermine the foundations of our society. And if you’ve ever owned a home, you know that the one thing that can destroy a great old house is an unstable foundation.

This old, ramshackle, beautiful, house that is the United States is worth saving. It’s worth fixing. So if you’re like me, and you love this place where you live, despite its flaws, let’s fix what’s wrong. Join with me. No more love it or leave it. From now on, let’s love it–and fix it.

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