Monday, July 05, 2004

Yay America!

Do I do this every year? Friends, I will never comprehend the celebration of our nation with the explosion of copious items that make one feel as in a war zone.


I know. I lack patriotism. So sue me. (Never know if the FBI will come knocking on your door, either.)

I mean, yes. America means a lot to me. It's where I'm from and all, and I've grown to have a fondness for the people I know, the places I've seen, and the ideals I've espoused that come from my exploration of a country I've seldom left since I was born. When you consider I'm 22 years and 6 months old and I've been outside of the U.S. for maybe two months, total, it adds up to a lot of American Experience.

There's a lot to like, admire, respect, and even love about America. But that doesn't mean I can't be irritated when people choose to express that by acting like complete idiots.

I just spent a few weeks touring the interstates and state highways of several western states. We've built roadways that allow you to see some amazing scenery while you're zooming happily from place to place. (We'll forget for a moment that we have to drop a pantsload of dollars on gasoline to fuel the cars that take the roads, and what a disaster that is for the environment and what a mess it makes of our foreign policy.)

I saw huge chunks of nature set aside and reserved for future generations as state and national parks. The sights are incredible. I love the city, but being somewhere like Yosemite or the Arches give me pause.

I saw a film by a man who, using his Constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression, railed against the current administration with damning evidence mixed with humor and sadness for two hours. And I experienced a theater full of people watching and applauding as these men were torn apart. I saw that dissent is alive and well.

I bought fruits and vegetables from local growers who brought their wares to Ballard to sell on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Independent, organic agriculture is thriving in my state, at least in a small way. I still have options besides the bin of tomatoes from who-knows-where at Safeway.

I saw many people all over the place, many of whom are no doubt immigrants. I don't know what they were all looking for when they came here, but I hope they're finding it. I have nothing but respect for people who choose a country. It has to give a person a deeper valuation of what it means to be part of a nation like that, something I wouldn't know unless I emigrated somewhere.

I saw my housemate's smiling face as she told me her fiance, stationed for the last year and a half in Iraq, was on his way home. That she might see him again in a month.

And I thought, maybe there is still some hope left.

But why do the kids gotta blow up firecrackers until 1 a.m.? That shit ain't right.

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