Sunday, July 3, 2016
Happy Birthday, America!
I have never been the fan girl type. I don't want anyone's autograph. I don't want to ask any famous person to take a selfie with me. There's no one I'd walk across hot coals to meet or go much out of my way to see them in concert.
I do love to watch and hear and read some people. Andrew Vachss is my favorite author, although honestly, I follow him on Facebook and he seems rather like a cranky old so and so. I root for Jimmie Johnson in every NASCAR race. I love the way David Garrett look and sounds when he plays the violin. I enjoy Johnny Depp's acting. I think Marlon Texiera is gorgeous. I anticipate Saturday nights because of Outlander. I think the cast is terrific, especially Sam Heughn as Jamie. I think Diana Gabaldon is a wonderful author. I love all her books but I don't call her "Herself" as as way of paying homage as many of her devotees do. All of these people are famous and rightly so, but none of them are without flaw.
Some people are special and I treasure them for the qualities that make them so but I've never been into hero (or heroine) worship. I hope with all my heart Hillary becomes our next president but I'm not a slavish follower the way so many Trump and Bernie people seem to be. I think she'd be an excellent president but she won't work miracles.....and neither will the other two.
I have had two husbands and a son die. I loved them all dearly but I didn't think they were perfect when they were alive and I don't think of them as perfect now. So many people seem to place their beloved (or even not so beloved) deceased spouses and children on a pedestal when they die and that pedestal gets higher as time goes on.
I'm a realist more than a romantic.
It's the same with my country. I love America and I'm certainly glad I was born an American. America has done some great things and been led by some great people but I'm not a patriot in the guise of "my country can do no wrong."
That fact America has done plenty of things wrong. Our treatment of the Native Americans was wrong and something we should be ashamed of. As a matter of fact, our treatment of them in many cases is still wrong.
Slavery was wrong. And the discrimination against Black Americans following the civil war and into modern times was wrong. Treating women as second-class citizens for so long was wrong. Our cruelty toward gays was wrong. And certainly, much of the ugly way we've handled the land, the water, the air, the animals, the birds and the fish has been wrong. Our penchant for non-stop war is wrong as I see it.
It doesn't mean you love your country any less because you acknowledge the areas where she has faltered. It doesn't mean you love her any less because you'd like to see her make some improvements.
Rose-colored glasses don't make anything better; they just disguise the way things are.
We have often been big-hearted and generous and forward-looking. We've been creative and entrepreneurial. We been risk-takers who were willing to share the wealth with the less fortunate. We've been courageous and mostly honest. We've usually tried to live up to our principles.
We've backslid now and then. Three examples of that for me right now are the Voting Rights Act and Citizens United and our current anti-science bias. Yours may be different.
But in the end, we keep forging forward. We include more of our citizens in their full civil rights with transgenders only being the latest. Despite obstructionism, we continue to get more of our energy from alternate source and lessen our reliance on fossil fuels. Hopefully, we are on the brink of making our justice system more humane and fair.
The U.S. is still a work in progress but we are making progress. Happy Fourth of July, America!