Tuesday, July 04, 2006

4th of July.....

Today is the 4th of July and I have been thinking about what to say about it. Here I am, an American, living in Japan, committed as all get out to keeping my proudly American ass overseas, in Asia, where life is good. If I had known life could be this good I would have gotten on a plane out of the states a long time ago. (And I sure as hell would have sent the ex packing well before that......).

So I hear you saying it, "Some American you are. Take your foreigner loving ass and keep it overseas if you like it so much over there. America does not need you over here, in the land of the free and the brave". Having said this, smug and self satisfied, you can now jump into your SUV and head down to the Home Depot, have a latte at Starbucks and, maybe stop at Borders books on the way home. Or perhaps taking time to mow and trim grass that serves no useful purpose other than to surround a house that is big, costs a lot and has no ready public transportation nearby. If that is your bag, great. I used to think it was all there was in the world. Then I had my eyes opened to a different world, one filled with different adventure and people with all kinds of different views and more importantly, more liberal mores. You'll forgive me if I prefer a stroll down Clarke Quay or Luard Road to one through the Gaslamp.

What does this all have to do with the 4th of July? Because deep in my heart of hearts, I'm still and American and I'm proud of that fact. IN fact being American is what served as my enabler to this brave new world I love so much. Its given me the correct perspective to appreciate it and to adapt to the unique challenges that come with living in a society such as Japan has. I still get a chill up my spine hearing the Star Spangled banner or Proud to be an American sung or played. I still love to watch the Cubs play baseball, and while I have an acquired taste for "Football" played soccer style, I'd rather watch the Steelers lined up at the line of scrimmage and going for it on 4th down. The 4th is a day I can celebrate all of those things and the birth of what I consider to be a unique nation among the community of nations. Of which there are far too many for the planet's own good.

Which is probably something that would be good for Americans to remember on this day. America is unique because of its geographic insularity, as much as it is for the Declaration or the Constitutional form of government. Imagine if Napoleon instead of trying to conquer Europe, had settled down after Austerlitz to Conquering the American heartland, with settlers and troops. Instead of selling Louisiana, what would have happened if a French bastion of empire had developed and America was bordered by several countries, not just two. We might have had a history more like Europe's and less like America's. That's something to celebrate right there.

I also like to take a day like, and celebrate being a Gaijin in a Nihonjin land. Where there are great things to do, which as Spike points out, " horrifies my friends in the US", but are part of the attraction for me. Just like Spike pointed out, "Am I proud that I know about all this stuff? Not necessarily, but clearly I'm not very ashamed of it either." It takes all kinds in this world.

For the opportunities to experience these things though, I have my home country to thank, so I am grateful. Very grateful indeed. Happy Birthday USA!

A mixed bag post! However its how I feel today. For a more traditional post about the 4th, go here. Thinking about the future, while packing away the past will do that to a person. More on that later.......

The text to this document can be found here. Few Americans have read the whole thing. One really should to appreciate what a bold thing it was for the time.......


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