Thursday, July 03, 2003

So here I am in Lincoln City, Oregon at an internet cafe (The Cyber Sun) trying to get my thoughts on a blog while on vacation. Portland is beautiful, although it has what I can only describe as having a sort of patina of depression to it. It's hard to explain - maybe it's the unemployement and the economic difficulties (Oregon has the highest unemployement rate in the country), or maybe it's the site of the lush mountainside hills, which would be completely covered in evergreens were not for the huge bald patches. The timber industry's practice of clear cutting, the norm for in the Northwest, leaves many places along highway 101 in Oregon completely devoid of any of their stunning, lush and tranquil aura. It could also be the ubiquitous presence of strip clubs and Indian casinos everywhere you go around here. It's all a little sad really.

While on the road I always try to catch some college or community radio while tooling around on the road. I was listening to 90.7 in Portland (approx. 1pm or so on 07.03.03) when this hippie-ish DJ started talking about (I'm paraphrasing here) boycotting 4th of July holiday, and wanting not to celebrate Independence but rather Interdependence. She may mean well but after a while the talk got me thinking and it got on my nerves. And not the ordinary trippy hippy thing that gets on my nerves anyway (although that didn't help).

Everytime I hear that talk I think to myself that Conservatives have one more Liberal to point to as an example of how the left hates America. And while this is essentially stereotyping on the part of Conservatives, it still makes it that much harder to argue the for idealogy that I value and agree with (generally liberal). It means that the liberals who take an interest in the political future of this nation have a harder time communicating and winning the hearts and minds of the moderates.

This country has blood on its hands, but show me a nation or government or culture that does not. Almost every group, people, and nation has at least a few ugly skeletons in their closet, albeit some more than others. This nation is not alone in exploitation of humaity. Okay, maybe we're better at it than other nations, but still..... Do hippies in the Netherlands or Sweden or Norway or even Canada have the same kind of contempt for their own government?

I don't belive in whitewashing the sins of this nation, but it is important to remember a few choice things.

(update : this is progessively being revised starting 07.14.03)

-Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that "every man is created equal". Our history with slavery shows just how short we came to living up to those ideals, but does it take away from the sheer power of that idea? I think it is a testimony to the flaws of democracy and while much lip service is given to the notion of Democracy it is important to remember that a Democracy is only as good as the citizens who choose to participate in it.

Our Goverment is very much like what is regarded as the US's greatest technological contribution to this world, the automobile. Take the greatest or most powerful vehicle in the world, and it won't go very far without a good driver and some decent fuel. That Driver is our leadership. That fuel is the citizenry of this country giving power to that vehicle. Without those two essentials the car goes nowhere. We've had some lousy drivers and considering that less than 50% of us vote what does that say about the fuel?

-When we identify all the negatives in the past as the whole history of the USA and forget the positives we make a blanket judgement, we take aback and white approach something Liberals generally try to rail against. This nation single handedly borught back the idea of Democracy, resurrected from the ancient Greeks and Romans. Were it not for us there would be no call for Democracy.

-Dont let conservative hijack the notion of what this country truly is. The labor movement was born here, the equal rights act etc. Let us hold up the great things that have made this nation and try to uphold them as shining examples of what America can do, and strive to emulate those ideals, not the pirates, thieves, liars and hypocrites that are currently wrapping themselves in the flag and simultaneous shitting on it and all it's people at the same time. Be proud of America for good, acknowledge the bad, and try to learn from the mistakes and try to continue the good things we've done in this country.

I think I'm writing an email to 90.7 Happy 4th of July everyone. I love my country for all it's warts - and every day is a chance to make this nation better.


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