Jul. 5th, 2013

cinema_babe: (Vote)
Watching the events unfold in Egypt this week reminded me of the importance of Independence Day for Americans. The fireworks we ooh and ahhh over are the cannon balls and bombs lobbed at us by the British during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

That's why the Star Spangled Banner can make me teary. After the two wars with Great Britain, a Civil War that ripped the country apart, the violence and hate of Jim Crow and other institutionalized prejudice (look up NINA), demonstrations for the civil rights of women, minorities, and LGBT people, riots, and terror attacks

Our flag is still there.

There is no good reason why it should be or why we as a country should still be whole. We are probably the most ethnically, racially, and culturally diverse country in the world and despite what you read in the news the US has one of the most liberal and generous immigration and citizenship policies (really, how many countries allow the child of two undocumented parents citizenship simply because his mother happens to have her feet on its soil when s/he is born? You can live in Germany for *years* and still not qualify for citizenship). And now the right for legal residence and citizenship has been affirmed for same sex couples when one of them is not an American.

Geographically we are *huge* and lifestyles vary greatly from seashore to flat plains to mountains to urban, suburban, exurban to rural.

We don't have a state religion like some countries or common ideology such as you might find in some communist countries. Our national character is the frontiersman, the cowboy, the pioneer: loners, pushing through, maybe not the most talkative neighbors but when we have a reason to get together and celebrate, Holy Moly!

We're a dichotomous bunch.

On one hand the US has been a hotbed of innovation. Countless amenities of modern life were either invented or improved upon here. We are renegades who like to break down the walls of the box.

On the other hand, we are a people of rules and law. When the presidency was in question back in 2000, no matter who was declared the winner, half of the country was going to be unhappy. People engaged in peaceful protest but there was no violence, The Supreme Court did their job and on January 20, 2001 there was a peaceful and seamless transition of power.

There was no military coup, we have never had a military coup.

So I apologize if some are chafed by our ebullience and patriotic bluster. We're just so happy that despite the fact that there is no good reason for us to have survived as a country...

Our flag is still there.

...Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

(And yeah, like any American, I have my list of things that I think we need to do better as a country but I have a whole 'nother 360 odd days a year to bitch. This weekend is all about celebrating the Birthday Girl. Happy 237th America, you don't look a day over 235!

And because it's Summer, this is a song that always gets played at cookouts in my family ever since I can remember.

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