Thursday, July 05, 2007

America: Fuck Yeah

Happy Independence Day, Puppeteers. Not only is today the birthday of the United States, it's my wife's birthday as well. One of those two things is older than the other, but you'll have to figure out which.

My neighborhood, being a thin slice of unincorporated King County, is one of the few places in the greater Seattle area where people can set off fireworks without fear of being fined or thrown in jail. I've complained about it before, but oddly enough this year it hasn't bothered me. It's actually kind of neat that people go to the lengths they do here to celebrate the 4th, especially since jaded anti-Americanism seems as popular as iPhones these days. So this year we're having some people over, cooking out, setting off a few fireworks of our own and we'll enjoy the show.

I also did something today I've never done in my adult life: I bought an American flag. There wasn't really room to display one at any of our apartments, and the house came with one - but I never really felt compelled to hang it before this year - partially because we were out of the country or out of town the last two 4ths, but for personal reasons as well. This year, I wanted to hang it. I have some great memories of the 4th as a kid, from the Granville street fair and fireworks after to taking a blanket to a lawn somewhere and listening to an old tinny radio play the 1812 Overture somewhat in time with the fireworks show. I guess in college and the last few years, I was partaking of a bit of that jaded anti-Americanism myself.

It's not like there aren't problems here (the Chimp in Chief being only one of the most obvious), but the principles upon which America was built - there is nothing wrong with that. Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness. My ancestors packed themselves on boats and came over from Prussia, Poland, Lebanon, Hungary. They sailed through Ellis Island looking for those things. Some ways it was harder for immigrants and the lower class then, than it is now. I'm proud (and admittedly happy) they took advantage of that opportunity when they did.

I don't feel like I should have to explain my patriotism today, and yet here I am giving reasons to a group of people that are largely my friends and family why I'm displaying a symbol of my country. Is that odd? Have I come so far that it is out of the norm to feel pride in principles upon which our country was founded? Is the problem even myself?

I don't know. I think I'll go get the brats ready, lay out the fireworks, check on the flag and go sit outside and enjoy a fine summer day in the middle of what would normally be a work week.

Incidentally, if you're looking for some patriotic (for us Americans - sorry readers in the Great White North) video games to play today, here is a suggested list, by no means comprehensive:

  • Duke Nukem
  • Rush N' Attack
  • America's Army
  • Freedom Force
  • Fallout
  • Bad Dudes

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