America, Uhmurr’kuh, My country, ’tis of thee…Amerikkah the beautiful, of thee I sing…
I love America—my own version/vision of what America is and should be, — what it can be, what we can be. What together we could work to make it become, if we had the will and the dedication. And perseverance. But I’m no particular big fan of nation-states. Especially those dedicated to corporatist and militarist and fundamentalist thuggery, those dedicated to genocide and geocide — humanicide and gaiacide.
I love the beauty of the philosophical ideas and ideals that represent the most enlightened aspects of the American vision . . . I love the good people of America, Indigenous people and immigrant people. I love the land and water and air and space that forms the physical ground-state of America as a country(side), a collection of contiguous bio-regions, watersheds, biomes. I love what I can find within its socio-political history, its cultural, religious, and intellectual history that is beautiful, spiritual, humane, artistically and aesthetically creative and heroic in the moral sense. I love what good I can find within American culture, historical and contemporary. I love what goodness and beauty and truth and moral idealism and constructive moral criticism I can find in American poetry and prose literature, American art, music, films, etc. I love what I can find that is good in the American public educational project. I love what I can find that is good about American spirituality, and American food and cuisine — well, American organic, natural, non-GMO vegetarian food and cuisine.
American dance! — America has given us the twist, the wa-wa-tusi, the loco-motion, the mashed potatoes! And dozens more. America has given us Isadora Duncan and Ruth St Denis. And Maria Tallchief. And Lili St Cyr and Gypsy Rose Lee, Blaze Starr and Watermelon Rose. And Betty Page. And James Brown. And Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Martha Graham, for f’s sake! I love American dance. Don’t even get me started on American music — I could go on nonstop for days on end—we all could! Dig it: American painting! And American slang!!! So bitchin’! (from “bewitching” ie totally enchanting, with a sharp edge) Way-bitchin’! Way! So much to love! So, so much.
But there is also so much that is atrocious as well. America’s long-standing, ongoing, and ever-escalating crimes against humanity and the world, our sins against humanity and the world, are incalculable! Let’s not talk about what has been unspeakably grotesque and remains far, far beyond words, beyond comprehension. How can so much terror and horror and atrocity go together with so much that is so good and beautiful, lovely and lovable, and beloved? What a bizarre mystery. Like the rest of the world. Only in quadraphonic technicolor smellavision cinemascope. Amped. On speed. America is crazy! But there is much about it I love. I was born here, though I had no choice in that matter, and big whoop. But I am actually immensely grateful. A certain amount of good grace and good karma combined in the circumstance.
More significantly in terms of volitional initiative, I’ve chosen to spend much of my life here, for whatever weak and/or strong reasons and predilections, trying to do what I can to make things better for all beings here in these United States and around the world. Though I’ve also spent time outside the confines. Escaping cultivation. Escaping Disney World and entering reality world. I’ve lived in other parts of the world planet, and may again, but there is much work to be done here in America, and it’s mostly up to Americans to get ‘er done. From inside out, when and where and as necessary, if and when possible. Nourishing & sharing the spirit while forming and growing the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.
I don’t think it matters all that much whether any given American individual or group remains in America or chooses to sojourn and/or remain outside. Good and necessary work can be done from either side of such artificial borders. We should all have good bread, and yes, copious roses, too. Every person in the United States, just as is already the case in the rest of the developed world and as should be for everyone everywhere, should have a legal right as well as the moral human right to excellent, free healthcare from the womb to the grave, to excellent free education from nursery school through post-doctoral study — lifelong learning. Right now, on the quality of life index, the United States ranks only at about number 17 in the world! That’s terrible! Still, good lives, wonderful lives, can be lived and enjoyed both in and out of the United States! Believe it or not! And in the meantime, while we’re already here, it’s good to celebrate together at times. Happy Fourth.