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.

34 Comments

  1. Love this, Peter. When we’re the sort of people who give a damn, it can be easy to let the the negative shit overwhelm the good shit. We do need to remind ourselves now and then, especially recorded somehow, of all we have, and how we enjoy it and benefit from it. A timely post, indeed! Roaring down the highway in a Mustang sounds like FUN 😀

    Liked by 2 people

          1. I think doing that on any bike would get the heart pumping. In fact, I inadvertently did something very similar to that a few years ago when I had my regular bike. It was a totally-out-of-control thing, and I was more terrified than thrilled – lol! I guess I’m not a true adrenalin-junkie at heart 🙂

            Liked by 3 people

            1. In 1972 I was hitchhiking along a German Autobahn and got a ride from a Kerl (guy) who took the needle as far as it would go (there was no speed limit at that time), so…
              I guess I’m not a true adrenalin-junkie at heart either.
              Told him that the next exit would be fine
              Knees are still shaking 🙂

              Liked by 3 people

              1. I took a ride in a friend’s new GT350 about a month ago, that’s a Mustang with 526 HP. But he took me through downtown Louisville. Never knew a car could go so fast between stoplights. And stop? It was amazing. I was giddy with laughter, and my knees shook when I got out. So I know what you mean. But in my case, I loved it. And would do it again. I think I’m a speed-junkie.

                Liked by 2 people

            2. I’m not fond of totally out of control either. But you know what scares me more than anything in a car or on a bike? Don’t tell anybody this, it’s kind of a sore subject with me, but amusement rides. They fugging terrify me. I can’t ride them. Oh yeah, and planes, I hate flying, but I’ll do that. A Roller Coaster, no way.

              Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Peter,

      I am reading this post of yours for the second time just before 2019 departs and 2020 arrives, and I would like to agree with Katrina.

      Judging from what and how you wrote this post, you do sound and behave somewhat like Burt Reynolds, or at least like the many characters that he played in movies.

      I wish that you have some movie clips to show us exactly what happened as you described in the following:

      Watch the faces of some shooters when they talk about hunting, and I tell them I’m vegan. It’s a fucking riot.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Burt Reynolds? Wow, thanks, I’m a fan. When I think of Burt, I think of Smokey and the Bandit. I can’t live up to that legacy; I don’t own a cowboy hat, anyway. 🙂 But I’ll take the compliment.

        It’s an entertaining phenomenon when certain someones unexpectedly learn you’re a vegan. Not always, but often enough, their countenance changes — a sort gray blanching that rises from deep within them, best I can describe. Not so much with the younger generations, mostly with the older traditionalists. Their regained composure ranges everywhere from dismissive disregard to vehemently defending their dietary regimes. It would be humorous to review the video of this strange occurrence if there was one.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Nat Hentoff stated it well in his seminal book Freedom For Me, But Not For Thee. However, Hentoff limited his scope to a single species that unilaterally proclaims itself above all other creatures. A tenet of veganism — If you have eyes and a complex central nervous system you possess an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
    https://www.amazon.com/Free-Speech-Me-But-Not-Thee/dp/006019006X
    I was lucky enough to own a high number in the draft lottery (255) and did not have to “serve.” Kurt Vonnegut has enough wisdom to speak about that topic and he has the credentials to do so. Just found out that his fans maintain a number of Twitter feeds in his honor:
    https://twitter.com/search?q=kurt%20vonnegut&src=recent_search_click
    And, of course, he was literally in a slaughterhouse in Dresden.
    It’s a genuine tragedy that we have to unlearn the history propagated with the same shallow soundbites over and over. As Gore Vidal noted, we live in the United States of Amnesia when it comes to learning any lessons from it. I feel that we are doomed to repeat mistakes because we still celebrate the lies. Motion pictures with billion-dollar budgets still get it wrong and this adds to the confusion. Blacklisted screenwriters and actors, including Charlie Chaplin for god’s sake, were banned by the House Committee for Unamerican Activities for acting with integrity. Art Disney turned in the “unpatriotic” among his employees. Speaking of naming names, I have recently been asked to throw you under a bus, but I refuse to pledge allegiance because die Gedanken sind frei.
    https://www.seafarerpress.com/works/die-gedanken-sind-frei

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I volunteered. But it was near the end of the war in seventy-four. I wasn’t looking to be a hero. I was a window cleaner, looking for something better. Used the GI Bill to get my learnin’, and here I am.

      The United States of Amnesia, humorously sad. Certainly celebrating the lies keeps it all going. I recently learned about Charlie Chaplin’s blacklisting. Wow, what a paranoid country we live in.

      Thanks for the die Gedanken sind frei protest song, an excellent poem, much appreciated.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Haven’t been over here for awhile; I loved reading this, was really disappointed to see it wouldn’t go on any longer. Hope you’re having a nice Christmas day despite everything, haha. That is all.

    Liked by 2 people

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