Biff America: Dry, quiet, hooking left (column)
Our community celebrated our nation’s birthday quietly this year. The lack of explosions gave way to reflection.
It is no news to anyone living here that our state is as dry as a Mormon wedding. Because of that there were no fireworks shows which was a relief to wildlife, pets and humans with nervous bladders. What was even more impressive was that there were no private detonations heard around the ’hood.
I enjoyed watching our local parade, though I will say, I got my lifetime fill of Lee Greenwood’s “I’m proud to be an American.” No offense to Greenwood groupies, but I’m not a fan.
Though that song makes my teeth ache, the sentiment is one I can get behind. I am in fact proud to be an American. Even more importantly, I’m grateful to be one. I was just complaining to a friend, who I had not seen in a while, about the fact that the crowds over the 4th wreaked havoc with my cell service. It was in the midst of my whining that I asked her where she had been the last few months. She told me she was doing relief work in Sudan. That kind of puts things in perspective.
My mate and I celebrated the holiday at the home of an Irish guy, Kevin, and his bride Nancy. Also in attendance were various ex-pats from many other nations — all who have relocated stateside. I talked to Brits, Hibernians, Canucks, Germans and one French guy with an accent so sexy my mate told him I was her dad. I would think that though there were many aspects of their homeland they missed, they had all moved to America for various reasons, reasons that kept them here. Mixed in with this United Nations of celebrants, of course, was a lot of native born, many who had more trouble understanding my accent than the sexy French guy’s.
In our local parade, I saw a sign that read, “I love my country but fear my government.” I could not disagree more.
Though I’m sometimes disappointed and even disgusted with my government. Most often I’m very proud of my government and our Constitution. And the beauty of this country and this government is, when the majority of us feel negatively about it, every two years, we can vote out the people who run it.
It was interesting to hear the ex-pats take on their adopted county’s current political climate. Certainly they were opinionated but also much more philosophical than I and many of my friends. I think that comes from recognizing that our nation is about the same age of some of the toilets in their homeland. In other words, we are still a work in progress.
It seems many I spoke to had more of a this-too-shall-pass attitude. I don’t mean to imply that they were all necessarily critical of the current administration, but rather more confident of the working of our checks and balances to not get overly worked up over any one administration or policy. I do think this had something to do with Kevin having opened his liquor cabinet.
Truth be told I hook to the left. That said, I’ve not been too happy about what has occurred during the last 18 months. The upcoming midterms will tell if I’m correct with my political assertions, or just an incredibly handsome middle-aged man and magical lover (you see what I did there?).
So yes, to quote that awful song, I am proud to be an American, but mostly I’m grateful to be one.
Certainly there are many other countries where it would be pretty cool to live in — Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein (don’t know where that is but I do like how it sounds). But, there are also countless countries that would be horrible places to live — Yemen, Sudan, Congo; far worse than Colorado with bad Wi-Fi.
Some country songs suggest that America and Americans are blessed by God. I would contend we are simply lucky. If God were to bless a country, I think it would be a poor one.
We are lucky to be safe, fairly prosperous and rich in opportunities. We are way lucky to have so much public land to play and recreate in. We are blessed to be populated with outgoing, friendly — often loud — folks who greet strangers and are cognizant of personal space.
We walked home from Kevin and Nancy’s place under clear and quiet skies. You don’t need a lot of noise to remind you of the geographical gift of living in a beautiful place.
“This is so nice,” I said to my bride.
A second after saying that a car drove by with the radio on and windows open and I heard Lee Greenwood sing, “I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.”
Well, at least the song doesn’t scare the wildlife.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Biff’s new book “Mind, Body, Soul.” is available at local shops and bookstores or http://shop.holpublications.com/products/biff-america-mind-body-soul
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