Monday, July 8, 2013

Thoughts on Being American

We celebrate America's independence early round here. Our town does it's fireworks on the third, and we always have a party. It is my favorite holiday. Cook-outs, summertime, swimming, and fireworks-- so many of my favorite things.You get to wear red, white, and blue, and play with sparklers, and drink beer into the wee hours of morning.  The holiday has no real "commercial" value. The expectations aren't too high, and there's no post-holiday letdown. It's the best.

But it feels a little weird that it's my favorite holiday because I've never thought of myself as especially patriotic. Patriotism can sometimes seem a little blind and thoughtless to me; there are so many people so proud to be this thing that they had nothing to do with. They were simply born in a place. And it seems exclusive--  the implication that you are somehow better than some other person who was simply born somewhere else. I guess I'm afraid that being patriotic can lead to not loving "others" enough.

Now, I happen to think the place I was born is wonderful, and I am an American in more ways than I probably will ever fully realize. I feel like there are parts of me gathered from all across this country; in my heart I feel like a New Englander  a Southern, and a Western Pioneer all wrapped up in one. Why I feel this way, I really can't explain, but I am who I am, and I am an American. And one of the best things about being an American is that we are allowed to be a bit rebellious, and we are allowed to question things, and we are allowed to disagree, and those things are a HUGE part of who I am. There have been times I've been so busy rebelling, questioning, and disagreeing people might not have realized how grateful I am to be an American. But I am grateful; grateful to be from the land of Lincoln and the Roosevelts, the land of Mark Twain and Woody Guthrie and Walt Whitman. The land of the free. The home of the brave.

Last week we celebrated being an American among my friends and my family. We ate fried chicken and barbecue, drank Coca-Cola and Budweiser, wore cut-off shorts and flip flops with old fashion rock-n-roll on the radio.And the whole thing was just as wonderful as this country.

1 comment:

  1. i love and appreciate your thoughts on being american, which echo my own sentiments fairly accurately. this is my kind of patriotism, proud of place, land, and history without a sense of entitlement or domination. we can love what we love and question what we question freely and (hopefully) with encouragement.

    and have i ever told you that i think you are quite the amazing photographer?!