The American experience stirred mankind from discovery to exploration. From the cautious quest for what they knew (or thought they knew) was out there, into an enthusiastic reaching to the unknown. These are two substantially different kinds of human enterprise.
So when you do your family tree and Margaret Cho does hers, and... Wanda Sykes and John Legend... we're adding to the database that scholars can then draw from to generalize about the complexity of the American experience. And that's the contribution that family trees make to broader scholarship.
Multiculturalism is a campaign to lower America's moral status by defining the American experience is terms of myriad repressionsand their victims. By rewriting history, and by using name calling ("Racist! Sexist! Homophobe!") to inhibit debate, multiculturalists cultivate grievances, self pity and claims to entitlements arising from victimization.
I was deeply moved by Richard Blanco's reading of his inaugural poem-a timely and elegant tribute to the great diversity of American experience. And now comes this fine meditation on his experience of coming to poetry, of making the poem and the months surrounding its making-a testament to the strength and significance of poetry in American culture, something not always seen or easily measured. Today Is For All of Us, One Today is a necessary intervention into the ongoing conversation about the role of poetry in public life.
Some persons can give themselves away to an ambitious pursuit and have that be all the giving-themselves-away-to-something they need to do. Though sometimes this changes as the players get older and the pursuit more stress-fraught. American experience seems to suggest that people are virtually unlimited in their need to give themselves away, on various levels. Some just prefer to do it in secret.
Race is a core reality of American experience. Media images on television need to reflect that reality to help people who consume media and who don't have the day-to-day, face-to-face contact with others, or where that contact is minimal, to help them have a greater appreciation of other experiences and how they're all part of the American fabric.
In her own special, provocative language, Tonya Bolden gives a voice to the voiceless, a name to the nameless. Revelations abound in Strong Men Keep Coming, her singular take on the endless parade of black men who have fought, sung, cajoled, tricked, worked, wrote, or roped their way into the American experience . She has assembled a most rewarding cast, a phenomenal coterie of role models and phantoms, and she has done a splendid job of telling their stories.
I hoped for something else. It's a simple dream, but it speaks to us so powerfully because it is our dream - one that exists at the very center of the American experience. One that says if you're willing to work hard and take responsibility, then you'll have the chance to reach for something else; for something better.
I don't really identify with America, I don't really feel like an American or part of the American experience, and I don't really feel like a member of the human race, to tell you the truth. I know I am, but I really don't. All the definitions are there, but I don't really feel a part of it. I think I have found a detached point of view, an ideal emotional detachment from the American experience and culture and the human experience and culture and human choices.