Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


fireworks, patriotism & the Fourth of July ~

It’s a shameful confession, for an eco-nut (a friend’s husband once called me an ‘eco-terrorist’ because I’ve supported Green Peace since the get-go :)). I love fireworks. Yes, they’re probably horrible for the environment. Yes, they’re totally ephemeral. (I think of them as a kind of Buddha board art — see below :)) YouTube Preview Image

But they’re so lovely — the perfect dandelions of colour, exploding against the hot summer sky. The neon colours that almost defy naming — sear and tang and bright and fire :). And while I know the origins of fireworks –  Chinese through & through; they still dominate the business — they seem quintessentially American to me. A fitting celebration of the country’s birth. Pyrotechnics, colour, loud noise and beauty that goes up in smoke :).

In fact, the entire idea of July 4 celebrations has become a politicized issue, research shows. Republicans see themselves as ‘more patriotic,’ and flag-waving is the way to show it.

I don’t mean that to sound unpatriotic or cynical. Much of my life has been spent outside the US and I have always been glad to be able to ‘come home.’ When we had other options, my husband & I made the choice to return to the USA to bring up our two sons. We didn’t want them to be, as I am in many ways, expat brats :). We wanted them to be firmly rooted in America, with all its complexities.

As the Fourth looms, I wonder why we define patriotism so narrowly. A neighbour flies a large American flag, but brags about stiffing the nursing homes where he does medical care. I doubt George Washington would find that laudable. A family member truly believes that only Christians should be allowed to vote. That lets out Thomas Jefferson, a deist but not a Christian. Another advocates mandatory birth control for welfare recipients. None of these seem to me to resonate w/ what I think of as real American virtues: hard work for fair wages, a reasonable profit for quality goods, freedom of religion and freedom from governmental mandates. Ironically, the more people I know tout ‘patriotism,’ the more likely they are to limit American rights to people who look and act and believe as they do.

So I offer you my ultimate American patriotic icon: the Bill of Rights. Freedom of religion, freedom of press, due process… For me, that’s what it’s all about: I may not agree w/ what you do w/ your rights, but I will celebrate them joyfully with you this hot Oklahoma Monday. After all, three generations of my family have fought to uphold them…:) So celebrate our glorious right to disagree ~ Happy Fourth!

 



Previous Posts

rain, rain
It's raining. The gardener in me is happy, but the sun-loving reptile? Not so much. Most things are like this, I suspect -- good news/bad news. And not even 'bad' news. Just inconvenient, or gloomy, or ... d

posted 2:22:43pm Apr. 24, 2014 | read full post »

reflections on mortality
Nothing like a nervous day at the doc's to make you realise your life is very good. Not that I needed reminding... But it still serves as a bit of a wake-up call. You know: what the heck are you whining about?

posted 6:12:24pm Apr. 23, 2014 | read full post »

you don't always get what you want...
I'm raising bees! Today I went outside to check on them, and the brilliant blue/ green/ yellow & black of their bodies glittered as the females laid multiple eggs in the tubes of my mason bee house. The ne

posted 4:09:22pm Apr. 22, 2014 | read full post »

when Buddhism and Christianity were THIS close
Most of the time, I confess, I think of Christianity as a violent religion. Beginning w/ the Crusades, various holy wars, the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, Nazi Germany... It

posted 6:43:33pm Apr. 21, 2014 | read full post »

form, poetry, and the empty cup
I spent the day researching obscure poetic forms.  And it was enormous fun -- thinking about what to pour into those elegant white cups of structure. Along the way, I wrote this poem for my sisters (the least structured of women). But we'll get to the poem in a moment. Because what's important i

posted 3:41:38pm Apr. 18, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.