Sunday, July 6, 2008

A belated happy birthday

These last few days have been immensely busy for me, while my blogging lately has been immensely unorganized and unfocused. But it seems sad to let July 4th pass without mentioning it.

So let me go out and say it Happy Independence Day!!!

Happy Birthday America!!!

Sorry it's 2 days late.

But I suppose I do need to explain why I care so much about July 4th.

Or well, I don't, but I will.

July 4th is Independence Day, remembered for the signing of the Declaration of Independence (which may or may not have happened two days earlier, exactitudes in history are rarely 100% accurate), the moment regarded as the birth of America.

And I love America.

(Ah here's the rub of the matter, I'm talking about why I love America, why didn't I start out with that. Because I can do whatever I want, buddy-boy).

I'm not much for ultra-nationalism. I'm in fact very critical of it. As I have expressed elsewhere, I don't believe nations are gods to be worshiped. But to call them an unreal imaginary construct does disservice to imaginary constructs. Nations are not in our blood, they do not define us, they do not hold claims over us, but we can imagine them, jointly with the world, and we can create something quite grand.

A community, a history, a geography, the shape of some ideals and mental ties that forms an amorphous blog of a national culture.

But most of all, it is a shared dream. That dream is of a people to love, some vast mass of people who you don't know but who you share an indescribable connection to, to love them and for them to love you. That is perhaps the best way to spell out the contours of nationalism.

Yet there must be a wariness. That shared dream of love can become an exclusive love that idealizes only the mental construct of a nation without realizing the humanity behind it that stretches so far beyond it.

But if I've described nationalism, I still haven't described America.

But America is another shared dream, different perhaps from most others, since it was a dream within the dream of liberty, and since its reality was very different from the dream which begot it. But there is definitely a history to America, the name conjures some discreet shapes and some blurry edges but there is enough to give America its own category and territory in the historical tradition. And there certainly is a geography, a land full of contrasts and wonders that boggles my mind at times (again with certain blurry edges (ie areas of uncertain belonging) like the Native American reservations). And there certainly is a community of Americans, there is a people who share a love for someone they can't describe, who is great and terrible, ugly and beautiful, but who touches the our souls with something more than the some of her parts...

Ah America, she is a dream, she is not a divinity, she is not a metaphysical body, but she is something... something to love.

Why do I love America?

Why does anyone love anything more than the fellow-being amount?

Something in her essence, an im-parsable part of her make-up, appeals to me more than any other country or identity (save Christian, ah, that's the limit, I will not defy God for the sake of America, even though I love her).

But if that is not enough of an answer, well, there are mysteries in life one must accept, and if you are not satisfied with this, just accept my patriotism as one of those mysteries.

But anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

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