For all our American IR's (are there other kinds? Who knows, I think I imagine there are some cool Irish and Brits reading daily as well, just dying to hear what Shifter and Katy have to say), Happy 4th of July. It's probably clear from some of the content here that I don't always approve of what happens in the ol' US of A, or all that it does outside its borders. And that may be an understatement. But it's difficult to judge a country. A country is so huge, embodies so many ideas, hopes, ideals, dreams, goals and so forth, many, many of which are even contradictory, that it seems impossible to boil it all down into "USA good" or "USA bad."
That being said, there are so many awesome things about USA, and so much that I as an individual and my family gain by being part of it, that I have to be grateful for it. And also that I have to be hopeful that it can live up to its potential so much more than it seems to today.
I also think that this country, or any group of people, is at its best when people are helping each other. Quite often the 4th is seen as a time to honor veterans and military service members. Again, I so often hate what soldiers have to do, what we have them do. And I work with enough of them to know that they're not all poster heroes, just as they're not all sadistic and evil villains. But military service can be one way that people in a society are caring for each other, in some cases giving their lives for each other. While I may hate that this is ever needed, and hate some of what is done in the name of this country, I really have to honor that service.
I know this is an ambivalent way of saying Happy 4th. But I suppose that's the way I am, and also what I think is necessary. Loving something does not mean you ignore its faults, or pretend they don't exist or can never exist. Being thankful for something you are a part of does not absolve you of the responsibility to think about what it is and what it does. These are not mutually exclusive ideas. In fact, I think they are wholly complementary ideas. And one of the things that in theory makes this such a great country is that we are all a part of it, of what it does and what it is, and so we are all obliged to think about things, to look at them.
So, all that being said, again, Happy Independence Day.