Sometimes I lose sight of the good things, the good times.
Then I need reminding.
When I reflect on the USA, its government, slanted media, deceits, and corruption, the futility of voting, the growing invasion of privacy and surveillance, I become critical.
But no country is above criticism.
Like many nations, ours has a sordid history. Imperialistic conquest, genocide, slavery, inequality, and prejudice, and it all continues in varying degrees. I’m not proud of that.
But today, I shift focus.
The US is where I grew up, raised a family, served in the military. I did. An honorably discharged Vietnam era vet who never left the Union. Lucky me, eh?
The US is home.
I owe home a commitment, some may describe as allegiance. But allegiance implies blind faith, unquestioning devotion, unwavering patriotism. That’s not me. My loyalty, my allegiance, is conditional and varies in magnitude. Often dictated by emotion. Rigid, flexible, waxing, and waning—frequently contradictory.
Sometimes causing me to overlook the good.
So today I’ll ruminate on the brighter side, the freedoms I sometimes take for granted. And if you think we don’t have freedoms, make a stay in any Islamic country. Or China. Then get back with me.
Freedom is gold. The right to write candidly. To criticize the government, to protest. To eschew religion. Freedom to travel. To own property, to buy a home. Freedom to start a business, if I so desire.
Freedom to bear arms, go to the range and blast the shit out of some paper. Watch the faces of some shooters when they talk about hunting, and I tell them I’m vegan. It’s a fucking riot.
Freedom to hop in the Mustang, burn rubber, and speed down the interstate early Sunday morning, sending the speedometer needle deep into triple digits. Yeah, I’m a man, and I like a lot of man things. Including the freedom to bail out of jail when they bust me, “But officer, sir, it’s why they make cars like this,” chuckle. I’ll let you know how that works out.
I love the freedom to roam the countryside, to hike and bike. To contemplate the folly of me taking up climbing—thanks to the influence of those crazy spider people over at theDIHEDRAL.
I like the freedom to explore the national parks, swim the waters. Take a cross country trip. I even love and admire some of our people, many of our people—contrary to my misanthropic nature.
Yeah, I love freedom. Why I became vegan, to share individual sovereignty.
I don’t want to take freedom for granted too often lest I grow too critical, too dark and grumpy in my old age. Bad enough we have to die alone, to die alone.
Sure, the country needs work, and it may never get better. Empires come and go, slowly dragging its citizens into decline and despair. Why should we be the exception? But it’s home, and I’ll enjoy what we’ve got till then.
Think I’ll take another spin in the ‘stang. Maybe go to the gun range.