Tuesday, July 04, 2006

My allegiance

Has been misrepresented, abbreviated, or otherwise misstated by TGF. While talking about her missing celebrations of the 4th, she stated that I don't "believe that this country deserves to celebrate" which is not exactly my feelings and I believe minimizes my feelings about the country I live in, which are complex, at best. In truth I don't have a convenient or easy way to talk about my feelings. While I have been tempted to take advantage of my Austrian heritage and relocate, I haven't done it. (Hm seems that they changed the rules and I can't easily claim citizenship there anymore. Damn procrastination strikes again.) I would miss people, need to learn German (though I hear it's pretty easy) and a million other things.

Like TGF, I also do not see the solution to this country's ills for people like me (which include the probably 10 people who read this blog) to leave and simply drop the ball. There is a saying in judaism, I can't quite remember the wording (and I cannot find it on the web!) but it goes something like "you are not required to finish the task but you must work on it". The actual quote is SO much better, more eloquent.

Found it!

One simple quote in the Pirkei Avot, the teachings of the fathers, says, "You are not required to finish the work, neither are you free to desist from it."

That sums up why I wouldn't easily leave the united states. I think it sums up how TGF feels too, by what she wrote in her post. As to how I feel about this country? I do recognize that there are freedoms here that we believe are inherent and are dumbfounded when we learn it is not a worldwide fact. But I also feel there is not a true democracy, even as we enforce our very twisted concept of this political system all over the world (some of whom excel at it and if we were honest we would be redfaced at the difference of what we sell).

I am outraged that other countries are more accepting, legally speaking than ours to gay and lesbian folks, that I have to settle for domestic partnership that only holds in the state we live in and is useless when we travel or should we move.

This site helps me to give numbers and figures to why I am less than automatically celebratory on the 4th. Given our current presizanut and congress, it makes it hard to remember and honour what is good because there is so much bad. I feel that rights are being taken away, that free speech is on a death watch.

On a much more personal note, I am not one for big bashes where drinking abounds, which has been much of my experience of parties for 7/4, memorial day and such. I also am not fond of crowds much of the time so gatherings for fireworks can be a challenge for me, though I do know the pleasure of everyone being in awe at the fireworks, as TGF mentioned. I have to gear up for crowds, one of the reasons that Pride marches are not as compelling as they used to be for me.

The fact that I could go to the biggest one right here in my backyard in San Francisco does compel me - I do think I ought to go once at least because it's one of those cool things one can say they have done. But here again, the message is so fuzzy these days. The SF "march", like many of them is more of a celebratory parade, in a time when I think there is still so to be done that if feels like a disservice to water it down. I mean, hell it's on freaking television out here, like the M*acy's Thanksg*ving Day Parade - complete with sponsor floats. On one hand I am amazed and happy to see all these big corporations "supporting" us, but I know that it's about the almighty dollar more than ethics for many of them. I suppose I could get my pride fix and suffer less qualms by going to the dyke march. Maybe next year we will go to both and see how we each feel.

What does this have to do the 4th? Hm, good question my dear readers. For me, celebrations are complex and never easy. The commercialism that abounds taints the event for me. I like developing our own "holidays" like we did for chanukah this year, and our harvest blessing party. Those are more clear and fill with me with joy. In time I suspect TGF and I will figure the maze of our differences with regards to holidays. I have promised to try to be more aware of those dates on the calendar and will always help her with any party, gathering or what have you she dreams up. For me, her being happy is more important than my very complex and rather inarticulate feelings about this country.


Gandksmom said...

You and I think a lot a like. As I said on TGF blog, I too had a really hard time with the 4th this year. If you get a chance read my blog and you'll see what I mean. I also have a hard time with crowds and when we went to a local parade yesterday, we had to leave and come home because I just couldn't take the crowds. You are not alone.

Diane said...

I am reluctant to leave the U.S. because of language problems, and because the U.S. is actually the world leader in women's rights, which just goes to show you how far behind the movement is. But we are behind in human rights in general, in animal rights, and in environmental protection.

Dharma said...

Diane, you and I are on much the same page. I would have a hard time with the status of women in many other places.