We aren’t really ones to get political at Flaxen Tawny(we keep that for the politicians), but were unexpectedly thrust in that direction today. On thinking about writing this article, I wanted to know what image stood out to people as ‘american’. I asked numerous new yorker(natives and not) what the word ‘american’ meant to them. As to be expected from the melting pot of the world, the answers varied from something as symbolic as the statue of liberty or the american flag, to the 50’s era drive-in(theatre or burger joint). But, i suppose naively, I was surprised at some of the responses I received.
Being 4th of July weekend, my thoughts were naturally patriotic. I assumed that most others would be the same. I expected answers like; cowboys and fairs, red white and blue, seersucker suits and horse races, blond californians with tans, bbq’s and hot dogs, budweiser and miller lite..these are all things american, no?
Surprisingly, (or not at all), these were some other words that were used to describe this country; oil spill, health care, conspiracy, intolerance, arrogance, patriotism, pride. I was a little annoyed initially at these responses. This was not the direction I was going with this. I wanted to talk about 4th of July parades and appropriate ways to dress ourselves in our country colors, and yet I felt significantly affected by these accusations and needed to acknowledge them. Of course, to be patriotic and prideful are important qualities in a country, but not when our pride becomes so large that we can’t see the truth beyond it.
We live in a beautiful country, where people have traveled from all across the world to build their lives, and we should keep it this way. We need to more often listen to our neighbors and recognize when things need some change, and embrace that change as the ‘greatest’ country on earth. It isn’t easy, with roughly 310 million people (our neighboring country of Canada consists of less than 35 million). To fully please everyone is imperceptible. But we need to find and keep a common ground, and what better day to remember this and to try than our day of independence?
So, enjoy your weekends, your BBQ’s, beaches and fireworks. Don the red white and blue(tastefully please), and celebrate your independence. But recognize at what price it has come, and that without your efforts and support it can not remain the greatest country in the world.