I’m not a big Independence Day, patriotic, flag-waving kind of guy and July 4th 2021 is really no different. But this year I put up an American flag on the front porch. I wouldn’t even have a suitable flag to display were it not for the three that my wife and I have from various relatives dying. Today’s flag was that which was presented to my mother on the death of my father, a career Army man.
Why this year? Not long ago, someone on the local Nextdoor internet site crowed that he walked around and could not find a single house displaying a US flag and a Biden campaign sign, clearly suggesting that liberals are unAmerican. That guy clearly is a nazi Trump supporter and fuck him. But also fuck the Republican Party as a whole for co-opting the flag as their own. Liberals need to reclaim their national symbol.
So the flag went up but at the same time, I moved our bleeding-heart liberal ‘welcome to all neighbors’ sign to a spot just beneath. Nearby on the other side of the house, our BLM sign continues to proclaim similar lefty sentiments. No Biden sign, although we still have it from last year’s campaign season.
Liberals – remember, I’m one – as a group tend to point out a lot of things wrong with this country, more so than do conservatives anyway. Racial injustice, income equality, warmongering, the 2nd Amendment, crappy health care system, and so on. Liberals tend not to extol the country’s virtues as many conservatives are quick to do, although their idea of ‘virtues’ often seem rooted in the 1950’s. You know, the good ol’ days of Eisenhower and McCarthy, colored people drinking fountains, Hollywood blacklisting. Conservatives also like to use any excuse to praise the military, all the time, something that aggravates this veteran to no end. As Jim Wright of Stonekettle Station – a combat veteran who you need to follow – recently expressed, July 4th is not ‘Military Day’ and there’s no need to thank the veterans; it’s a day to celebrate ALL of America. Couldn’t agree more.
So where does that leave folks who are mostly OK with the USA but don’t want to stick their heads in the sand when it comes to all our national societal failures? It’s a difficult question, particularly if you’re not terribly up on the state of the world as a whole as a way of comparison. This blog is normally almost entirely my opinions and words but here’s one guy’s take on America that strikes a balance on Independence Day, I think. Jeff is a Marine Iraq war veteran posting on his page Unprecedented Mediocrity:
Without exception, reservation, or qualification, I will always be proud of the United States of America. That’s not to say that [there have not been] some great moral evils in our past. How this great nation could simultaneously enshrine the notion that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator certain inalienable rights while simultaneously making other men property of those men is beyond me.
Yes, the ramifications of that injustice persist today as you cannot have two families walk down those very opposite paths and wind up at the same destination. With each generation, we are getting closer to merging those two timelines. I don’t know if it will happen in my lifetime, but I can either commit myself to pulling them closer together or pushing them further apart. As [for me] and my household, I will commit my days to pulling them together.
Manifest Destiny led to some pretty terrible atrocities against the native people and friends, we’ve had airplanes longer than women have had the right to vote in this country. Despite acts of inexplicable gallantry, men of color could not command white men in what we call the greatest generation.
My mom went to segregated schools and as such, it was not that far back in history, one generation, where black and white kids couldn’t go to the same schools. America has gotten much wrong but that is only because our nation is infested with humans and we are [fallible] fallen creatures. Which brings me to my point.
I will always be proud of America because we have always shown that we are willing to self correct. Let’s face it, just 60 to 75 years ago, humans conquered other humans and did terrible things to one another on an unprecedented scale. That’s humanity’s story, not the singular story of the United States.
I’ve [traveled] the world in both war and peace and I’m here to tell you, the rest of those people outside our borders are not exactly acing the humanity test either. Not even you Canada, you’re close, but you still got that jacked up bacon thing that frequently pisses me off.
Friends, the world is not getting it right and neither are we. However, we are self correcting. Slowly and painfully, we are riding that long [arc] of the moral universe that bends toward justice. We fight and argue with each other and that’s largely because we liked each other a lot more before we knew what our countrymen felt about every single topic on the internet. January 6th was a travesty, but I’m here to tell you that if it were any other country, if our democratic institutions were just a bit weaker, our elected government would have fallen.
We have a lot of self correcting to go and I’m not foolish enough to think that I’ll see perfect in my lifetime, so I’ll guess I’ll have to settle for ‘Merica, better than the rest of the world. Because sooner or later, we self correct. Granted, not always as [quickly corrected as] that prohibition on alcohol thing, but sooner or later, we get there.
That’s why I am now and always will be proud of the United States of America. To all my friends judging from other nations, I leave you with a July 4th, screw you buddy your country can’t human any better than we can. Now, if you will excuse me I have to go watch my fellow Americans start an insane amount of wildfires today as a result of ignorant firework usage. We [are] trying to human better, we really are, but ‘Merica!
Agree with Jeff or not, he makes more sense than most. Perhaps he has more faith in our ‘self-correcting’ than warranted but it’s an optimistic sentiment. Perhaps you think certain other countries *are* doing human better. Maybe. Surely not many.
Here’s to leaving a better America – and world – to our (someone else’s) children. Here’s to self-correcting.