Summer Woolly Mammoth Moon
Celebrating the beginning of the American experiment. SeoAh, oddly, enough is a Yankee Doodle dandy, born on the fourth of July and currently with Joe and Murdoch on the beach somewhere in Florida. In the military Memorial Day, Veterans Day and the 4th of July are big, moments of national attention to the difficult life chosen by those in the armed forces.
The 4th, though it retains a certain martial flare exhibited in parades and political speeches, is also about remembering the life of our country, its many birthdays and its often rocky history. This 4th of July being in the moment, being present to the current reality of our country is devastating to me. Trump and his executive branch filled with people opposed to governing, with crony capitalists and regulators captured by the industries they oversee, have drained this July 4th of its joy.
Instead it occasions reflection, a how did it come to this wondering. We are all complicit, of course. Too confident in the uneasy, but predictable governing of traditional Democrats and Republicans, reading amity as a sense that if things were not exactly ok, they were as good as they could be expected be. Now that amity, the politics of my youth until the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War showed the poison blossoms that had been just waiting to bloom, is long gone, certainly after 2001 though the roots are a lot, lot deeper.
In the complex sashay between politics as usual and the politics of the marginalized some of the latter decided to walk down the aisle with plutocratic grooms. This July 4th the marriage of one percent privilege to the rage of white Americans who feel their privilege slipping away has turned a bright light on the problem of factions, well known to the writers and signers of our Constitution. We are in a time of politics by defamation, by lie, by corruption, by deceit, by arrogance, by rapaciousness, by the basest of human impulses. We are in a time when groups defined by their hate and by their isolation at the top conspire together, though only to the benefit of those at the top.
All this is true as we light the candles on the red white and blue cake for birthday 242. I’m choosing however to celebrate the promise of America, that promise of working together for liberty and justice and happiness and a decent life for all. Since I still believe in that America, since I know many who do, I’m not going to give into despair or angst; rather, I’m going to celebrate the abolition of slavery, the passage of the civil rights act, the Marshall Plan, the victory in WWII, the Great Society programs of LBJ, Obamacare (flawed as it was and is), Medicare and Social Security, the purple mountain majesties and all our fruited plains.
I’m going to stand up today with the Statue of Liberty and affirm that I still mean Emmy Lazarus’ words written there. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.” No, we are not all, not even most, Trumpian chauvinists and xenophobes. We, too, are America and eventually our voices will be heard.
May it happen soon.