While celebrating Amurica’s 233rd, I thought a lot about my journeys over the last year. While we drink beer, eat beef, and blow stuff up in the sky to celebrate our country’s independence, I couldn’t help but remember India’s Republic Day. A somber day (and QUIET) where the country reflected on what independence meant to them, the challenges it caused them, and those who were lost fighting for the majestic idea that is freedom.
I celebrated Freedom Day in South Africa, a day to commemorate the country’s first democratic elections after the fall of apartheid, by listening to Archbishop Desmond Tutu speak about the importance of not forgetting those who still aren’t free. He mainly focused on Tibet and Zimbabwe.
While many in India and South Africa are no freer than they were under the colonialist regimes, there is a deep love for the country in all people. On the 4th of July, our papers informed us nothing new about Michael Jackson. There was little mention (I can’t say no mention as I didn’t read every publication, obviously) of paying the favor of independence forward to those who are still struggling, who are still “huddled masses yearning to be free,” both in our country and abroad.
And we are so free in this country. So free in fact, that at the National Mall, where I went to see fireworks beside the most phallic symbol of American strength and pride (the Washington Monument) there were HOARDS of people passing out free bibles, and a prayer booth in the middle of the mall, preaching Jesus’ message.
Really, Amurica? On the most federal holiday around you gotta bring JC into it? Talk about separation of church and state…
This country is so free, that we can break our nation’s supposedly most valued and central tenant on her birthday.
We are so independent in this country that nobody bothered to even check my purse as I, and thousands others, walked onto the mall on Saturday night, only footsteps from the Capitol building, to watch the fireworks.
Some of these things are totally backwards. Some of these things may come back to bite us in the behind eventually. But right now I’m choosing to focus on the fact that we are so lucky to be here. Perhaps the most backwards part about that is most people don’t even know that much: they don’t even know how good they have it.
I know I do my fair share of griping about America. Isn’t it patriotic to challenge something to try to make it better? Nevertheless I was glad, am glad, to be in America right now. I’m having fun with my friends, fun in the city, and fun not having to worry about what I wear, who I talk to, or what I eat.
We have it so easy here. Everything is done for us, everything is clean, tested, protected, and insured. Our lives are worriless, and maybe that’s why I’m having so much fun. Life here is easy, and maybe eventually that will get boring, but right now, I’m having a great time.
So Happy Birthday, Amurica. Here’s to another year of ass kickin and trail blazin and terrorist huntin and Big Macs. Oh, and rights for women and social services and free elections, and clean drinking water and vaccines…..