03 July 2008

Descended In Blood And In Spirit

America works for me. It might not be the country I want it to be, but it’s the one I've got. It’s going to have the same warts whoever gets elected this fall. Sanctimony is out of style and humility just went on sale in the part of America I live in.

    I have not served in the military.

    I do not own a flag.

    And I’m not sure I know all the words to the Pledge of Allegiance.

There are some days, when I am upset or angry, when the things I say about this country I live in make the incendiary sound bites of Rev Jeremiah Wright sound like love notes. Me and the people who look like me are here because America was is addicted to cheap labor (see "Mexican immigrants, who you want to be deported, but ONLY after they finish building your homes, cleaning your homes, cutting your grass and washing your cars), but we've made a way out of no way, rising all the way to Most Favored Minority status after hundreds of years of oppression. If you add up all the other things like these that I have been known to complain about, you might come to the conclusion that I am unpatriotic.

You would be wrong.

I LOVE America - not the poster of Uncle Sam, or the image of the White House beamed around the world daily, but the people who live here. The government is NOT America. "We the people" - remember those words? the preamble to our one and only Constitution - "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union..." is a declarative opening that states precisely what took place at the inception of our nation. The power that those colonists gave to its governing body is the same power you give your government today.

As a country, as a people who can unite for common causes, we have done some great things for ourselves and for the world. There's nothing wrong with celebrating our accomplishments. An endless loop of patriotic sounding jingles and incessant flag waving, though, is not necessary.

Feigning naivete when we know damn well what levels of depravity and greed flourish in our American government, even as these revelations are unearthed, is unconscionable and juvenile.

We have to fight the fight now, because its not over, not by a long shot. I can't spend all my time worrying about legacies, or historical images. To get from here to there in anything, I 've got to spend as much of my energy as I possibly can on dealing with the unknown and unseeable future as it happens.

"Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels -- men and women who dare to DISSENT from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest DISSENT with disloyal subversion."

Dwight D. Eisenhower

"You cannot become thorough Americans if you think of yourselves in groups. America does not consist of groups. A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American."

Woodrow T. Wilson

"How soon we forget history... Government is not reason. Government is not eloquence. It is force. And, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

George Washington

My inner curmudgeon will be on break this weekend. Whether you sit around a grill tomorrow, or gather at the beach, or celebrate urban style by taking it to the streets, remember, as you enjoy the food and the drink and the camraderie of your friends and family and enjoy this celebration, that we are all descended in blood and in spirit from those whose blood, sweat(that was our part)and tears earned us the freedoms and the liberties we cherish as Americans today.

1 comment:

  1. "...We have to fight the fight now, because its not over, not by a long shot."

    Agreed, and it'll never be over until the last human being is breathing.


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