Friday, July 2, 2004

Go America. Rah.

I never get political in this journal.  This is my happy, friendly, non-confrontational place.

But, as we inch up on another July 4th, I'm feeling an odd twinge of patriotism.

This is particularly odd in that normally, as July 4th rolls around, I generally don't feel very patriotic at all.  Not that I have anything against the country, heavens no.  There's just a certain amount of "taking for granted" going on, and looking at the holiday pretty much as a nice excuse for a barbecue and watching some fireworks.  I've even been known to quietly mock some of the more jingoistic displays my countrymen have come up with. 

And this year -- well, heck.  An awful lot of the rest of the planet hates us and I'm not all that happy with us either.  I'm certainly not excited about the fact that when I went to New Zealand, I pondered whether I should try to pass myself off as Canadian.  And I'm not at all celebratory about certain policies of the current administration.  Which is to say that, although, yes, I like to keep this journal a happy non-confrontational place, I'll go out on a limb enough to say:  the Geneva Convention isn't "quaint," we shouldn't be torturing people, and we sure as hell shouldn't be trying to justify torturing people.  And I mean the use of the word "we" here, because those so-called bad apples aren't just making the whole military look bad, they've made this whole country look bad -- and it really, really sticks in my craw that the reputation of my country is being tarnished in this particularly despicable fashion.

Which, I think, is probably the reason why my latent patriotism is kicking in.  I mean, there are plenty of reasons I have for being somewhat negative for some of the things the word "America" seems to be standing for these days -- and yet, I know all of this is transitory and that, at the bottom of it all, we've got us a damn fine country to be legitimately proud of.

I mean, first and foremost are all those nice individual rights we're guaranteed -- the sort of thing that lets us criticize the government, criticize the government in a newspaper, and assemble to criticize the government.  Fantastic freedoms, these.  And I do adore the fact that our country is capable of regime change without bloodshed.  If we don't like the leader, we can just vote him out and there's no question that he'll leave the office peacefully.

And then, of course, there are all the material things that come from living in a great big prosperous capitalistic society.  We've got a lot of stuff.  And we've always got more stuff available.  And when I said that, you might be thinking about really cool things like luxury cars and microchips, but don't forget about things like food.  And vaccines.  And two-ply toilet paper.  I'm telling you, people, there is a lot to be happy about here.

So while, yeah, I might take time this Fourth of July weekend to take in Michael Moore's movie ripping on the government, I'm also going to take particular note of the fact that we've got a country where the movie can be made and you don't feel like the secret police will follow you home if you happen to go see it.

2 comments:

pollysci said...

Well said. VERY well said.

tara  =]
http://journals.aol.com/pollysci/randomness

quroboros said...

Excellent observations here.. too true.  Well, all except for this part= "If we don't like the leader, we can just vote him out."  Thanks to those with the power & money to do so violating election laws, that's not true any more.  I'm grateful for the freedoms & privileges this country affords me, but worry it won't remain that way.  ¤Holly
(PS- thanks for "jingoistic".. a new one on me that I cracked open Webster's for!)