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The 4th of July Print E-mail
Written by Raven   

I hope everyone is having a lovely 4th.   When this day comes around and it seems like the jingoistic, rightwing uber-patriots are dominating things, I always remember back to attending a 4th of July parade in Alameda, CA - just across the bay from San Francisco.  This was 1996.  Ten years ago, before the right had forced the polarization to the extreme it is now. When a patriot was simply someone who loved their country.

It seemed a typical small town parade - you know, flatbed trucks with banners and bunting and flags, marching bands, groups of people walking along waving - except that in between Joe's Concrete Service and the caddy with the Chamber of Commerce bigwigs and the Shriners zipping around on minibikes, there was the local gay pride group, some Asian-American associations, a group of flaming queens in drag, a bunch of pierced and tattooed teenagers representing some youth group, and Latino groups of various kinds.

And you know what?  Everyone clapped and cheered for everyone else.  Granted, some folks were a little less enthusiastic about some groups.  Maybe they didn't clap as loud for them.. but they clapped.  It was the most hopeful thing I'd seen in years.   It is possible for us to all be Americans together.  I've seen it.  There is hope.

But hope requires that we keep it alive, that we carry forward a vision of America as a place of tolerance, and inclusion, and the belief that America as a grand a noble experiment in the future of mankind is not over.  This may be the hardest thing we ever do as a country.  For hope is a fragile thing, easily snuffed out.

Am I a patriot?  Oh, yes.  I love my country.  Ten generations of my forebears are buried here.  This is my sacred land.  Our sacred land.   We are all American together.  No matter how much it hurts or is difficult, or how much we want to exclude other Americans.  These values of tolerance and hope and inclusion are fundamental American values.  

How do you recognize a true American?  They're the ones clapping and cheering each other.  No matter who they are.  The ones with the sullen faces who aren't clapping and cheering everyone else?  Who aren't clapping and cheering everyone else because they are gay, or liberal, or aren't their brand of Christian, or who are just plain old pissed off at the Universe for not behaving like they want it to?

They're Americans too.. clap and cheer for them, my brothers and sisters. It may not help them, but it help us to keep the hope and the dream alive.

Besides, it pisses them off no end.

Comments (1) >>
written by Tom, February 06, 2008

Now I remember a certain other 4th of July. "You Are What You Eat." Many fond memories of that day, and of the commeration of that day in art, on the wall. If you are who I think you are, your memories will be similar.

A blast from the past. You are who you were, only more so. I am who I was, only less so. I was surprised and pleased to see this site still here, and active. It would seem you also are still here, and active. I would be pleased if you would visit me at sometime in the future. If not, the memories will remain, and still be cherished.

My best to you and yours.

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