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People's History of the U.S.


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Thursday, July 04, 2002

Happy Birthday, America

Recently, I've been pretty ranty about the state of our nation, as a result of feeling impotent and helpless about a lot of the things that frustrate me. So this just spills over into negative karma and it does no one any good.

So here are the things that I like about my country - the reasons I haven't run away to Canada yet - and I'm going to bite back all the negative snarky things I want to say, too - that's for another entry. Another day.

We are a nation born from two things - the blood of men who strove for freedom, and the words of men who believed in it. We are the result of dreams and ideals. We were created with the best intentions.

I could ramble a lot about the founding fathers, actually. I mean, certainly they were white male slave owners whose personal morality can definitely be questioned. But they KNEW that things could change, and made sure that the nation could grow with its people. The Constitution is written to be fluid, changeable, so that mistakes could be corrected. Oversights seen to. All the pretty words are in the Declaration of Independence. All the good ideas are in the Constitution.

We're always getting better as a people. We're diverse, and that's caused more than one problem... But there are attempts to unite us. There are attempts to talk about our differences and bring us together. We try, when we can.

We have fantastic television. Cable TV, especially. What's more American than entire television channels devoted to food, animals and home improvement?

I may have a lot of problems with the way post-Sept. 11 patriotism was manipulated. But we came together so quickly, so fiercely that during those first days, it was something real and natural. And I know that a lot of people needed that. And it helped them.

Making fun of our leaders is not only legal, but encouraged by prominent members of society. It's practically an industry.

10 Americans, living today, who rule for one reason or another:
-Brad Pitt (whose abs should be declared a national treasure)
-Molly Ivins (who's generally right on the money)
-Spike Lee (whose voice is different, and therefore welcome)
-Rudy Giuliani (who knew exactly what to say)
-My grandma (who makes the best caramel corn in the world)
-Wil Wheaton (who uses his popularity for a good cause)
-John McCain (who doesn't want me to kill my baby, but doesn't want my political leaders to be owned by major coporations, either)
-Maya Angelou (who knows what it feels like for a girl)
-Moby (who tries to change the world, in his quiet little way)
-Joss Whedon (who makes it an interesting place to be)

Those are just the ones off the top of my head. All of them make me proud to have been born in this country. Them and everyone else.

So today I think I'm going to a barbeque, and who knows what else will happen? Last year, we drove up to Mulholland Drive, and saw every fireworks show happening over the LA Basin. Most of them were pretty far away. But it was still a good time.

Happy birthday, America. Everyone have a good 4th.

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