Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day, 2010: Food For Thought

Maybe this sounds corny, but I think America is a pretty good place to live. That's not entirely my opinion. Working with an ESL (English as a Second Language) program in San Francisco helped me review and revise how I see this country. As part of the process of helping immigrants fine-tune their English, I learned what some of them had gone through, getting here.

Patriotism Can be Cheesy


(from Oddly Enough / photo by Lucas Jackson, Reuters, used w/o permission)

Anybody who takes the stereotypes of shows like "M*A*S*H" and "All in the Family" seriously knows that patriots - American ones, anyway - are like Frank Burns and Archie Bunker: marginally competent; uncouth; ill-bred louts with prejudices where they should have principles.

I've met people who were a bit like those two fictional characters - and I've met their counterparts at other ends of political spectra.

I've seen the occasionally-tacky, commercial side of American patriotism: and I rather like it. I'd never mistake a near-life-size cheese sculpture of the signing of the Declaration of Independence for one of the works of Phidias. But, cheesy as it is: I like its cheerful celebration of a great moment.

I also like red-white-and-blue soda pop cans and other colorful holiday paraphernalia.

Me? A Patriot?

America isn't perfect, as I pointed out on this country's Independence Day two years ago.

But this country was founded with some high ideals - which we haven't entirely lost over the last 234 years.

Last year, in another blog, I declared - or admitted - that I'm a patriot. In the dictionary sense, at least: "Patriot" means "one who loves and defends his or her country" (Princeton Wordnet).

As I said then, love of country isn't at the very top of my priority list, and I'm well aware of America's imperfections: but yes, I love America. And, since the reality checks in that blog are a sort of defense of this country - yeah, I'm a patriot.

I don't have much of a choice about it. I'm a Catholic, so I have to be a good citizen. (September 24, 2008, November 3, 2008)

And Now, a Word From America's Founders

The Declaration of Independence ends with these words:
"...And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

[signed]

Georgia: Button Gwinnett; Lyman Hall; George Walton

North Carolina: William Hooper; Joseph Hewes; John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge; Thomas Heyward, Jr.; Thomas Lynch, Jr.; Arthur Middleton

Massachusetts: John Hancock

Maryland: Samuel Chase; William Paca; Thomas Stone; Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe; Richard Henry Lee; Thomas Jefferson; Benjamin Harrison; Thomas Nelson, Jr.; Francis Lightfoot Lee; Carter Braxton

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris; Benjamin Rush; Benjamin Franklin; John Morton; George Clymer; James Smith; George Taylor; James Wilson; George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney; George Read; Thomas McKean

New York: William Floyd; Philip Livingston; Francis Lewis; Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton; John Witherspoon; Francis Hopkinson; John Hart; Abraham Clark
If you're curious, transcripts of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, the Consttitution of the United States of America, Amendments 1 through 10 (the Bill of Rights), and
Amendments 11-27 are available online.

2 comments:

Brigid said...

Seem to have a descriptive verb missing here: "revise how I this country"

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

Oi. Got it, fixed it. Thanks!

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.