Friday, July 1, 2011

The Nation's Birthday

I'm looking forward to July 4th with true passion. In a time when it would seem we have only the weakest of grips on all that we hold dear as Americans, I claim all those sentiments about my country that go right along with Mom and apple pie.

I was raised to revere my nation, my freedoms, and my religion and to see those things as parts of the same whole. Rooted firmly in middle class values, I never saw and don't ever see that elites have anything to offer me except their contempt and their condescension.

This America was founded on valuable principles that celebrate our differences all the while it insists we sing the same songs from the same songbook about  our future and how we get there. Doesn't matter at all what our national origins are, or were. What we hold in common are certain truths to be found in our Declaration of Independence, that marvelous instrument that makes the perfect case for freedom. As a body of believers in that document, we even fight for other countries filled with people yearning to breathe free and want to do it on their own hallowed ground. We have real trouble getting our heads around the very idea of a despot and resist it whenever it tries to hold the stage. We're not about despotism. Not for anyone. Certainly not here.

I'm a Constitutionalist. I don't think it is now or ever will be irrelevant to "the times" or to anything else so pretentious as those who would trash so noble a set of ideas. Even attempting to go there in my presence will label you and call down heaps of hot coals from my mouth to your head. To badmouth this work even while you are enjoying those freedoms it provides for you is my idea of the ultimate contempt.

I treasure my flag, my documents, my freedoms, my nation and hardly abide anyone at all who thinks they can audacioulsy tell mourners anywhere on earth, let alone in the national cemetery that they may not say "God bless you". You and whose army? Get off the planet. Some no-account pomposity in a uniform thought she could fly that airplane. Don't think so. She should be directed to, you guessed it...the Constitution of the United States, her employer, by the way.

I think that each and every one of us should be required to study the history of our origins and take a test to  pass or fail, and if failed, then to take that course until the material is mastered. Better men than those who breathe our free air today fought and died to have the freedoms we abuse without a thought. 

I am a patriot, no surprise, I'm sure. I don't believe our differences of origin matter a fig. Keep your traditions and those things of your nationality that tell me more than just the color of your skin. Share the recipes for Italian cuisine, and tell me where to buy those spices that make schwarma schwarma. Teach me, Muslim woman, to make up my eyes with the cosmetics you use. I can't see much of your face most of the time, but I experience serious envy of your skills with makeup. I believe having you in the mix in America, no matter your background, enriches the delicacy we call the United States of America. But when push comes to shove and the tough stuff begins, and it will, I want you to be standing shoulder to shoulder with me as an American.  You are not my guest here. You are my equivalent, not more, not less. Don't expect or demand your beliefs and your traditions over mine. Freedom is not open to interpetation. Our documents, written by men who prayerfully and with fear of the God they credited with this land, wrote these things, gave us complete instruments to open ourselves to our differences while at the same time defining our common course. No choices here, folks. If you don't like what that means, you need to find a different country.

In a land of so many choices, we have the unique ability to make one choice: to protect and defend our freedoms. That is what July 4 is about. Light a candle. Bake a birthday cake. Celebrate the most unique country in the whole world, a place where is does not matter who you are, what your status, rich or poor, a place of freedom. Don't you dare forfeit what has been so hard won. If you don't understand it, get busy. I can't afford a single person here who does not understand freedom. Where you are free to be free, but not at my freedom's expense. There is only one thing to remember. Your freedom may not be superimposed on that of anyone else.

Celebrate with gusto. If you know nothing about the building of this most special of nations, buy some books and read them. I continue to be amazed at what our own children are not taught about America's origins. Ask yourself who is it that thinks they have no need to know? See, if they don't know basics, you can sell them any truth. That, folks, is a plan. A very ugly plan with a very ugly purpose.

1 comment:

  1. I've come to visit after reading comments you made at Woman Wielding Words. I wanted to comment on a more recent post about your book in progress, after scrolling down and reading a few more posts. Although I've always been very interested in the causes of WWII and how life was affected for all the people living through it at the fronts, at home and in other countries, I think it's more important that I say something in response to this July 4th post.

    I am also glad that I was born in the US and that I have lived my life here. I can't think of any other country on earth now where people get consistently fairer opportunities to live a free and fulfilling life. I have pride in my country and hope that each of us has the pride to strive to keep it stong and make it even better for us all.

    However, I can't ignore the fact that my people were not included in the freedoms of The Constitution, because politics made it impossible to achieve that with harmony. It is simply wrong to deny human beings equal freedoms under the law.

    I think it is necessary to respectfully remember our many past and present flaws as a country, and continue to work to right as many of them as possible to keep ourselves strong and move forward. If my race and other peoples who have been wronged here with the sanction of our government, can continue to be strong and proud Americans, then I would hope that we wouldn't be chastised for remembering as much of our American history as we can.

    I hope you understand that many of us who want to remember the mistakes of the past (including those of our founding fathers) in the hope that remembering them will help us to not repeat them, aren't necessarily any less partiotic than you are.