American Mammals

“Some months ago I came to this country prepared to judge it and hate it. Truth be told, I just came to collect the evidence. But America played a trick on me. It opened its doors and arms for me and let me play around its backyard and throw sticks for its golden retriever to bring back, it fed me thankful turkey and organic marshmallows and asked about where I came from, and gasped at my answers. Then it stamped me legal in bars, and its daughters lent me mascara in the restrooms, and its sons traced my jawline and kissed me like they do in the movies when we think they pretend, and their skin was beautiful and smooth like dolphin skin, and I kept saying to myself, just a little more fun, and then I’ll get to the real business of hating it. Until suddenly it was too late to hate America: I was loving it with all my heart. I had met a hundred wonderful people too many, people of good intention, people with real love for god and their fellow men in them.
And then it dawned on me.
Do you know why dolphins save people? Being mammals, sea creatures with lungs instead of fins, as sleek and fish-like as they look, dolphins have to surface every seven minutes to take a gulp of air, or they drown. And when a dolphin is sick and too drowsy to surface, his fellow playmates feel the sparkle of life in him beginning to wane. So they flock around him and prop him up with their bodies. They take turns. They help him breathe until his strength wanders back to him. So when they run across a drowning human, they mistake him for a sick dolphin and try to save him. And it’s all good. Because luckily, humans need air.
But try to save a swordfish that way.

I mean, that’s why America does what it does. (I don’t mean the Government, I mean the good Americans I know, the folks with hearts as golden as their retrievers, who stand aside and let it all happen.)
Americans see other nations stagger and they try to prop them up. They try to save them the best they know how, not really sure what’s best for their system, but honestly trying. Because like dolphins, Americans think that all other humans on Earth are sick Americans.
And they mean no harm.
They just don’t know any better.”