I just wanted to take this opportunity to mention how grateful I am to be living in the United States of America, the greatest, most perfect society the world has ever known.
I’m truly in awe of how this country has managed to put its mark upon the world. From the 1600s on, the people of this land have ever been ready to take up arms in the name of a good cause, from defending colonials against indigenous natives who fail to appreciate the benefits of progress and modernization to traveling across this world’s great oceans in pursuit of news and headlines that strengthen the power and influence of our fourth estate, the ideal embodiment of that most vaunted of rights, the freedom of speech.
It is important to note that while our countrymen shed blood in the name of good causes, we rarely, if ever, allowed ourselves to be distracted by petty political or moral considerations. Instead of trying to liberate the NAZI’s concentration camps or determining whether there really were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or whether or not it was moral to use our own weapons of mass destruction against Japan, we stuck to our guns, kept our heads down and plowed straight ahead towards ultimate victory!
Those victories, combined with our freedom of speech, insured that the history books that counted were written in English.
I’m truly grateful to live in a country that holds the right to free expression so closely and dearly that it only begrudgingly extends that right to ideas, peoples and ideologies after they have assimilated, conformed and bent their beliefs into forms that our greater society finds acceptable.
I’m flabbergasted by the vision and prescience of the founding fathers who bequeathed to us the notion that all men are created equal. Their brilliance crafted a system of governance that insures that those living among us who are not men can earn the right to become men, following a long, hard, violent and expensive trial by fire, as it is only fitting that such awesome rights should be granted only to those who have earned it.
I am equally grateful that we have chosen to address this concept of equalization in stages rather than all at once, as it provides us the opportunity to continuously examine the consequences of our decisions. The first such group granted co-equal status with men – women – are still being held to higher standards some 100 years after gaining their rights, continuously being offered the opportunity of proving that they were deserving of such an honor.
I am hopeful that 100 years from now the same can be said for other groups that have been granted provisional men status – children, the Irish, the Italians, the Catholics People of Color, Asians, the Jews and maybe even Muslims.
Three hundred and ninety-five years ago the Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock and established Puritanical ideals upon the face of this continent. Ideas about fidelity and purity, virginity, marriage and not only the correct position for engaging in sexual congress but the proper mix of sexes allowed to so engage. Four centuries may be enough time to think about relaxing those rules a bit, especially in light of the tremendous advances we’ve made in understanding our varied biological natures. It may be time, but we must remember that the freedoms we hold so dear are extended equally to those who would deny freedom to others. Equality is an awesome thing. Something so important should only be granted after long and thoughtful consideration.
So I say – “Happy Birthday America! Long May Your Flag Wave o’er the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!” And may there be many, many more birthdays because it’s going to take us a long time to sort it all out.
But at least we’re trying. (Aren’t we?)