Today is Independence Day - or, in my house, it's The Day To Celebrate The Day We Declared Our Intention To Kick Your Country's A**, Dearest. You may just call it the Fourth of July.
For awhile, MUNI street cars in San Francisco featured advertisements for the Lonely Planet series of travel books which stated: "Do something good for your country. Leave it." If you haven't had the chance to travel, that might leave you wondering.
For those of us who have gotten the hell out of dodge, no matter how briefly, we get it. You can't possibly understand America until you leave it and you can't help something you don't understand. That's not to say that those who have never left are incapable of helping, but it's harder to understand the bottle from inside it - or so the fly tells us.
This, our 230th year of independence, has been an instructive one for me. Mostly negative lessons learned, of course, which is, shall we say, kinda sucky. The federal government continues to leave me dateless for the entire 2006 wedding season. Accordingly, my faith in the federal government continues to hover slightly above non-existent; a cupcake candle in a gale.
And still it is hard to imagine being anywhere else or being anything else. Hard. But not impossible.
What is impossible, though, is giving up entirely on this experimental country of ours. We're getting so much wrong at home and abroad right now - most of which involves our place in the world: immigration, Iraq, etc. I'm still hoping for something . . . big? Good? Different? Hopeful? Something.
A birthday is a good time to look ahead. So happy birthday American Independence. You still look pretty young for 230, but then again, you know what they say: 230 is the new 220.
Ah, yes, presents: Be patriotic - buy the new Dixie Chicks album because country stations won't play it even when, on today of all days, they should have it on repeat.