A few weeks ago, I watched the United States play against England in an early World Cup game. What surprised me, more than that crazy goal made by the U.S. team, was some color-commentary made in the beginning of the game to the effect that the U.S. is England's former colony. Yeah, buddy - that was over 230 years ago. Get over it.
We certainly have changed a bit in those 230+ years, haven't we?
In case you forgot your basic American history, the History Channel recently ran a series called "America: The Story of Us" to remind us. I find several faults with this project, most notably that it portrayed all things about our country in a good light - with the exception of a few minutes devoted to slavery and the civil rights struggle. Don't get me wrong. I love America, and feel very blessed to live in a free country, a melting pot of so many wonderful, different cultures, and landscapes that ring true to spacious skies and purple mountain majesties. But by no means is America perfect. I doubt there is any one living soul in the country that feels we are perfect, even though I'm sure that many outside of America think we are just a bunch of arrogant S.O.B.s. Still, there is a lot to love.
As I type this from the comfort of my own home, on a gorgeous summer day, in shorts, I think about the places around the world where people live in shanty towns of cardboard, smothered in dust and waste, without clean water or food, or a government willing to improve their horrible conditions. I think about the women who are not allowed to show an inch of skin for fear of punishment for indecency, and I think about the children who cannot enjoy such a beautiful day because they are working in sweatshops or worse when they should be playing instead. I think about taking a walk downtown later - and then thoughts cross to people who cannot walk anywhere without feeling terror of being kidnapped, raped, shot or blown up.
America is a fortunate country. Not perfect, but fortunate. We have freedoms that many do not have. We have access to a life that, even in the worst circumstances, tend to be better than what many can even hope for.
So, even though it's been a long time since we've been a colony, we must continue to celebrate our freedoms - and the people who work so hard to keep it so. Happy 4th, America!