America is a country of great contrasts. We started from lofty ideals, but struggled to share them equally. Even though equality was a fundamental concept, America still struggles with that concept today.
We have great sprawling metropolises, and stunning natural beauty. In some places, the two overlap. Soaring bridges span wide valleys, and dams hold back man made lakes to sustain a growing population. America loves to build and grow, often without considering the cost.
The rich and poor live in the same communities, although the wealthiest can afford some extra distance. There is contrast aplenty here, from opulence to squalor. We have a whole spectrum of social and economic differences.
America produces great science, engineering, and works of art. But we also struggle to educate, feed and clothe our poorest citizens. Citizenship has even become a point of contention, as some Americans try to keep out ‘undesirables’ from other lands.
We have darkness and light blended into the fabric of our society. We built the nation with slavery and forced the natives of our land to resettle far from their homes. Americans called it progress, even when it held men, women, and children in bondage.
We patted ourselves on the back in the last century because we’d overcome all that darkness. The civil rights movement, desegregation, and reservation casinos proved our moral fiber. We went to war against drugs, communism, and terror. Our failures haven’t taught us much.
America is the home of the brave, and the land of the free. But the pandemic and a year of protests has shown there are still many of us who don’t embrace the ideals America was founded on. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness aren’t words to take lightly. Too often lately, the actions of Americans have mocked those ideals.
Yet, America is my home. I was fortunate enough to travel to a lot of other countries. Those travels showed me how many different ways humans live on this planet. The American Way isn’t the only way. In fact, it’s often the worst way. Still, having visited so many other places, I’d never want to live anywhere else.
This love and loathing I have for my home country is a big part of Fantastic America. I wrote scenes that allow readers to see the contrasts, without passing judgement on how they came to be. The best and the worst are on full display, without commentary, or without any more than I could manage. The series is meant to delve deeper, to highlight more of those contrasts. I hope you’ll enjoy the journey, as much as the story about miracles, magic, and monsters.