Thursday, July 22, 2010

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day!

I know that was really late, but time for blogging has slipped away over the past few weeks, due to exciting career developments, new projects, and camping in the Sierra Nevada mountains. But our Fourth of July was wonderful, so I thought I'd share the proof. I hope you all had a great one, too!

Since I still don't have a camera, all these wonderful pictures were taken by Alex. :)

The cupcakes I made

Thriving sunflowers... our thriving garden!

Events of the day included assembling and flying patriotic gliders, patriotic necklaces, eating cupcakes, and watching the America: The Story of Us episode on the Revolutionary War (an amazing series that I highly recommend). While waiting for evening to fall so that we could attend the local firework display, we decided to play Revolutionary War. Having watched The Patriot the night before, we assumed the roles of Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson's American character -- me) and Colonel Tavington (Jason Isaacs British soldier -- Alex). As you can tell, the war didn't exactly go to plan. And it took me a while to realize that one of the toy guns my sister had grabbed to play with was actually real.

The Revolutionary War

The fireworks are held in a field the next town over, and it's a big to do. You pay an admission price and can wander stalls of food, jumpy houses, games, live music, and then fireworks. At least that's what I hear. I've never actually been inside. One of the downsides of being part of a large family is that there are so many of us that admission and travel are expensive. As I explained to my neighbor the other day (as he told me what happened inside the fence), "I was always one of the poor kids on the outside of the fence."

And why not? You get almost as good of a show and don't have to pay admission. I perfectly understand why we did it that way for so many years. This year, however, the security ignored the fence once it got dark and the fireworks started, so for the first time in my life, I got to see the fireworks in all their glory. My mom, sister and I made a mad dash across the fence and field in the darkness between fireworks. It was so beautiful.

For several minutes, I was overwhelmed with emotion at the beautiful display as I thought of what we were celebrating, and just how much our ancestors sacrificed, dreamed, and fought for. Our national anthem is glorious. Our Declaration of Independence is an inspiration. We have a beautiful inheritance and should always strive to maintain the legacy of the ideals of our forefathers.

After the show, however, I was reminded of how far we've come from our original audacity. We parked about a mile away from the fireworks and began to walk back to the car with a group of about 30 people who were leaving the show on foot. A cop was at the intersection before us, directing the traffic and letting the cars that had been stopped for long minutes go. We hadn't been waiting 5 minutes before a fat, impatient blond woman shouted, "Hey, can we go yet?" which incited another fat, impatient man to shout, "Who taught you to direct traffic?!"

I shared an incredulous look with my sister and we both had to bite our tongues to keep from shouting at them to have some patience because, you know, they weren't the only people in the world. But apparently that was asking too much, and the fat man continued with a "C'mon, we've got children here!" Um, he had like, a teenager with him who looked more content to wait than he did. Another woman turned to him and said, "They come last in this country, get real."

So I assume she's upset about education budgets getting slashed, I get it. My university was so affected by the furloughs and budget cuts that it felt like a different place, so I get it, too. But for heaven's sake, our kids have it better than those of almost every other nation in the world. I mean (and I know I'm obsessing over this, but I have a point) every person who shouted something was overweight. In our country, we have the luxury of being overweight. I get so sick of complacent Americans and their entitlement issues. "I don't want to have to wait so I will start shouting at a cop because I know sooooo much more than he does about directing traffic because I am sooo special." That attitude is a plague in this country, and it needs to be wiped out.

I'm obsessing over the fact that these people were overweight because I've realized that I'm a fattist. Yet it's not the appearance of the obese that irks me -- it's the attitudes shown by people who happen to be obese. No, wait, they don't "happen to be" because they became that way due to their attitude: "I want what I want, and I want it now." Fat, therefore, is not an accurate description of this type of person. Wasichu is. Wasichu is a Lakota (Sioux) word, commonly used for "white people," however the literal translation is "takes the fat." These peoples bodies and minds are reflective of the ugliest of American traits -- greed and selfishness. I know everyone on the planet suffers from these attributes, but think about it. We enslaved blacks out of economic greed, we committed genocide against a continent of people out of lust for land, we oppressed women for centuries out of the selfishness of wanting all the power to lie with one gender. Hell, even football, our most celebrated sport, is a clash over gaining scraps of land.

If more wasichus stopped to reflect on just how much they have, and just how very lucky they are, some of their entitlement would fade, and they could, hopefully, continue to pursue the ideals of our forefathers and foremothers.

When we got home, we ate some of our yum dessert that my mom made. Isn't it gorgeous? It tasted amazing, too. The crust was like shortbread, the fluff in the middle like a sugar frosting with a soft hint of cream cheese, and the strawberries, well, they're always delicious.

Tracie --
Thanks for the link! That section about horses and nomadic cultures was really interesting. And yes, the dogs at all of the corn on the cob! It was pretty funny.

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