Posted by johngl
It’s my favorite “holiday” and for it, I cooked up an all-American meal: Prime-grade American farm-raised ribeyes, American farm-raised sweet corn, American-grown bing cherries, all topped off by a premium-grade American red wine. A few of you might even think I’m sounding a bit like a patriot…and you’d be right.
Speaking of patriots, back in the late 1700’s a rather small group of folks took it upon themselves to substantially alter the course of history by telling a King to shove it. Things have never been quite the same since. I admire people with, well, balls.
Don’t let this apparent flag-waving lead you to believe that I will blindly play follow the leader or go all xenophobic; I’m an Independent thinker and there is no collective mind-set here. In my time on this planet, my life has been greatly enriched by the diversity of those I’ve known and who have left their homelands to come here for work and to find a better life. This includes my parents (from Croatia), and a list of people from over 30 different countries including, but not limited to: Japan, China, Australia, Austria, Korea, Jamaica, Colombia, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Lebanon, Russia, Bahamas, Hungary, Israel, Germany, Greece, Mexico, France, England, Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Iran, Argentina, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Italy, South Africa, and (dare I say) Canada. I’ve probably missed a few.
Think about it: Some people I know complain of hardship if they feel they have to move across Austin even if moving brings with it a new job and a 50% pay increase. Many of the folks I’ve known have left nearly everything behind — less a few personal possessions — and moved to a new country with a new language just for a shot at something better. There were no promises of success.
What’s really cool is these folks have brought their native cultures (and cuisines) with them. We’ve worked together, we’ve laughed together, we’ve learned from each other along the way.
To me, being a patriot means to promote the well-being of the area in which you live; your “country” or community. Our Founding Fathers, in spite of their flaws, had this in mind and stated it clearly in their Declaration of Independence. They established rules for our new government in the Constitution. A patriot was one who stood for the rights of self government and opposition to tyranny.
This all means that the “we”, the “us” have the power to fix things, to right injustices when we find them, to become the super heroes that we flock to see at our local theaters. It doesn’t matter if you’re socialist, capitalist, gay, straight, male, female, short, or tall. It does matter if don’t do anything to stop the bigotry, hate, and intolerance of our differences. We can make things better.
So, on this day of flag-waving, parades, fireworks, hotdogs, and beer, let’s not forget who we really are and how we got here. We’re in this together and we can all be patriots, shunning the rabid xenophobes who are opposed to or afraid of change, different lifestyles, or different cultures.
After all, that’s how this whole thing got started.