Sibling Complex

1835730_1280x720You know, I think America has something I like to call a ‘sibling’ complex. Basically, I think she’s like an older sibling….. to herself, if that makes any sense. Think about it for a sec.

So, I know quite a few families with lots of kids (mine included). They tussle, fight, call each other names, and that doesn’t make them look very caring at all. It makes them look dysfunctional. But, as soon as one of them gets hurt or picked on, bam! The other is there to hold them up. It’s the whole, ‘Only I can call my brother/sister names’ thing.

I think America has a sibling complex. We argue, fight, protest, and talk politics till the cows come home. And then some! But as soon as we’re threatened, or get brought into a fight, we’re one mind, one heart, one mission. Help America live.

After all, a country is really just a large family. And it wouldn’t be a normal family if we didn’t get into arguments, or debates, or even all-out fights. We just need to remember the big picture. An argument over the Presidency isn’t the end of America. Heck, Ulysses Grant was a terrible President. He almost resurrected the Civil War! But we’re still standing, we still hold onto the American Dream, even if it’s getting buried under too much arguing. We’re stronger than we look, people. We just need to keep in mind that ‘Only I can call my brother/sister names,’ doesn’t mean we should. Sure, it’s alright to have a little bit of tension, but have you ever seen a large family work together? It’s worth putting aside a small opinion.

Let it Burn hear about America all the time during this time of year, sometimes to the point where it becomes numbing. “Yeah, yeah. We get it already. A bunch of guys kicked an Empire’s butt, and now I can’t get a breather when that time rolls around again.” Yeah, it can feel that way. Especially when you hear the same things over and over again. But there are some amazing stories and the like out there, ones that don’t say the same thing over and over again, but actually sink to our core and remind us who we are as a people. We’re not a cheep, more-plastic-than-cloth flag hanging next to the basket ball hoop. We’re not a red-white-and-blue cake/jello recipe off of the internet. We’re not even those amazing bursts of colored fire that light up the July sky.

We’re rebels. Not for the sake of it, not against what’s good. We’re rebels against the normality of the world. We’re rebels against oppression, against unjust rule, against tyranny. We’re rebels against what the world wants us to cower before. We’re not a grill sale. We’re not even the Declaration. We’re a people, a promise, a hope. WE are America.

Listen to stories from our past. Catch the spark of red white and blue fire, let it burn. Let it hurt. Yeah, our nation is messing up. That hurts. We’re not acting in ways that would make Washington or Kennedy proud. But, you know what, America is the people’s country. If we don’t like it, let’s raise our voices. We can make a difference, we just need to stop limiting ourselves. Let it burn, let it sweep across the nation. Let it burn!

American Phrase Friday


This poem was written by my mother, Pam Bruns, in response to the separation of families at our border.



“Lo siento me hijo y hija.


Lo siento. Grief makes waves in torrents 

But your screams were wrapped in red tape and hidden in a canyon

Created by your own tears. 


Lo siento little one. I did not hear. I did not see. But now I do. 

Your deep canyon made an echo. Your tears changed the landscape. 

And shame settled as dust from the long road you walked. 


Lo siento niños. There is no place for shame to hide. 

And aching hearts must bear up under such destruction. 

Perhaps the wrong may yet be righted. 


Lo siento.”


Lo siento, little ones! I pray to God that you will see your families again, and that this madness will end soon. I am sorry, little ones. We are sorry.

My Mt. Rushmore Trip Thoughts

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Just so you all know, this isn’t the post I had been planning. I hope you like it, though! Anyway, if you read my ‘Sorry’ post, you’ll know that I wasn’t able to do much this past week because my family and I were in South Dakota. I wish I could tell you all the amazing things that we saw and did there, but if I did that, this post would be as long as Return of the King.

What I want to talk about is the Lighting Ceremony that Mount Rushmore does in the evenings throughout the summer. It’s nothing grandiose, it’s just a ceremony honoring the four Presidents on that mountain, and the men who put them there. In the middle, they show a small program giving context to each of Washington’s, Lincoln’s, Jefferson, and Roosevelt’s terms. After that we listened to America the Beautiful, and then sang the National Anthem as the flag was lowered by military personnel from the audience. It was powerful. And it got me thinking.

Being patriotic isn’t a bad thing. It’s not a ‘dumb’ thing, reserved only for rednecks and the odd history buff. Our country is wonderful, beautiful, diverse, amazing, and awesome. I don’t use those words lightly. Awesome literally means ‘to inspire awe’. Your national heritage isn’t something that only exists because you live somewhere. It’s your heart, it’s your drive, your will, your beliefs, and your dreams. America is a dream. Love her! Our founding fathers did. All of the greats in our history loved America with a passion. Do you ever wonder what our country would be like if they were still here? News flash, they are.

We can do amazing things, just like they did, if we just love our nation and fight for her morals. If we just give her, and ourselves, a chance, who says that we can’t be what we were? The only thing that’s missing is that passion, that reckless abandon to chase after what we know is right. Gen Z, let’s be the generation that people point to and say, “That’s who brought America back to her Golden Days. That’s the generation who brought back the patriotic fire of the stars and stripes, they’re the ones who preserved this great nation.” Why not, guys? Why not?



What would we do without it, right? It’s proved useful time and time again. Saving lives, making other lives easier, and generally being extremally helpful. Except nothing is perfect. I know, I know, where would we be without computers and the like? Whereas they’ve helped us a good deal, we can live without them. We have been. For thousands of years.

I know I’ve said this before, but I work at a library. One day I was checking out an older woman’s books. As I was scanning them, a young girl, maybe four, ran in with her mother. Her face was sheer excitement. The woman laughed in a happy way.

“It’s good to see kids so excited about reading,” she said. “It makes me glad.” We exchanged token ‘Have a good day’s’, then the girl’s mother came up.

“Can you get my daughter onto one of your touch-screen terminals?”

“Sure thing.” I set the little girl up on a children’s learning computer, where she spent the rest of her library visit. Staring at a screen. No books involved.

I appreciate modern technology, I really do. But I think there’s a ‘too far’ point, and we’re getting dangerously close, Gen-Z. Did you know that there’s a push, granted a small one, to call our generation the iGeneration? Yup. There is. Because we all have phones, or macs, or tablets, and we can’t seem to get enough of them. Yes, they make our lives more colorful, more interesting and easy, but let’s not get carried away with it. Please.

Again, don’t get me wrong. I love the benefits of modern tec. It’s simple, cool, and convenient. I’m not saying we should abandon all our phones and things and throw ourselves back into the 1800’s. We wouldn’t have been able to go to the moon if it wasn’t for our computers! But look at it this way, going to the moon is a lot different than checking Snap Chat, or posting pictures of salad. We’re not lost causes yet, we can still do wonderful things with technology. Let’s just not limit ourselves with it. You can do amazing things with an iPhone, not just watch YouTube or your social media. Once more, let’s not limit ourselves, or our technology, just because we can. Let’s be the best we can be, and make technology the best it can be. I know we have more in us than Twitter, I’ve seen it. Now let’s show the world.

Busy Busy Busy….. Too Busy?

businessbusy-1-750x400We’re busy. Very busy. Some of you might be reading this post later in the week because you couldn’t even finish your cup of coffee Monday morning. If that’s the case, and you came back, great! Thank you! If it is Monday morning, and you are sitting at your computer reading this, thank you for making me a part of your beginning-of-the-week craze. You rock!

Anyway, back to the post. America is a very driven country. Almost every time we’ve set our mind to something, we’ve done it. “I am convinced that we will reach the moon in this decade…” You know what I’m talking about. But I feel, and bear in mind that this is my personal opinion, that the flip side of all this drive and future-building stuff is harmful. In decent amounts, yes. It’s great. But when it becomes an obsession, and all we strive for or think about is reaching that next moon, we lose something. We become zombie-like, hungering for one thing and oblivious to everything else. We get lost in our crazed yearning for the wonders of tomorrow, not today.

It’s not a crime to take every now and then and just…. smell the roses. It’s not illegal to keep an evening clear because  you want to treat yourself and eat some chocolate, then go to bed early.  Yes, the future is always shifting. It’s not a constant. One moon that was within reach yesterday might not be tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean we have to push for it 24/7. Yes, it’s always shifting, but it’s also always there. It can wait a day or two for you to take a breather.

Constantly moving doesn’t mean you’ll reach the moon faster. It means you’ll reach it, but you will have missed the stars.


foodFood is great. It really, really is. Who doesn’t like to go out to eat, or dish up a bowl of ice cream? I grew up in the South, and some of the many foods that I ate while I was down there were hush puppies, venison, and crab (that last one was REALLY south. Key West, to be exact.). And then I’ve also lived in New York, which is very proud of its pizza. And with good reason, the stuff’s delicious. Also bagels. Those are really popular there as well.

None of these foods make anybody think America, though. Pizza is about as far from American culture as you can get, it’s Italian! And then crab is from the Pacific Islands. You get my point.

America is one of the only places you can eat a dish from the Pacific Islands for lunch, and then have Chinese or Mexican for dinner. We’re a melting pot of culture, and that means our food as well. There is no one style of food that strikes people as American, because none of it is.

We’re all American. That doesn’t mean that we dress a certain way, act a certain way, or eat a certain kind of food. It meas that we’re all connected by the same dream, the same vision. America’s culture isn’t just one thing, nothing in America is just one thing, which means that we all fit in.

Just like crab and pizza.