Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy Dependence Day

No, that isn't a typo. I was going to post the picture below and wish everyone a "Happy Independence Day!" But then I remembered something ...


I remember the feeling I had whenever I travelled abroad and returned home to the United States in decades past. I remember in particular, one trip to Europe to present a paper at the University of Jena in what used to be East Germany. After the conference, I took the train up through Germany and Scandinavia to Stockholm, where I caught a boat to Turku, Finland, and visited friends in Helsinki.

After this long trip, I returned home to the United States, flying into JFK in New York. Going through customs took some time. The last officer I met was an African American man who stamped my passport, flashed me a smile, and said, "Welcome home!" I'll never forget the feeling, a happy feeling of solidarity and security in being home in the United States again. This, despite the fact that the first twenty years of my life were lived outside the United States.

Then I remembered listening to Teresa Tomio on the Catholic radio station during my morning drive the other day, and something she said stuck with me. She said that on recent trips abroad, she noticed how different she felt when returning to the United States -- a certain "heaviness" and unshakable burden of concern that she often felt upon her arrival back in the United States.

Many of us, I think, know all-too-well what she means, sad-to-say. This is no longer the country that our parents knew when they were growing up, or even the country we knew when we were growing up -- before Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) Roe v. Wade (1973), or Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), or the recent Supreme Court Ruling striking down DOMA (2013).

It was, in retrospect, a time of comparative innocence, a time of relative simplicity, in many respects. Now we have Obamacare, same-sex "marriages," and a government few people trust. What there seems little doubt about, however, is that the majority of people are now ready to turn John F. Kennedy's dictum on its head and say: "Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you." We have become a nation of takers.

So, perhaps it seems a bit cynical (and maybe it is); but Happy Dependence Day! (... Or not so happy, as the case may be ...)


5 comments:








I am not Spartacus

said...

Well said, Dr.

Flying back from Europe previously, I used to have this song in my mind

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbOWDe2GQoo

whereas on my return from Italy recently I was singing this to my own self:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBXn9PptgN8

Were my Bride agreeable to the idea, I'd sell everything and move to Italy





Anonymous

said...

IANS
Why is Italy better?

Donna





I am not Spartacus

said...

Dear Donna. Everything is better in Italy; Art, Architecture, People, Food, Wine, Judicial System, Health Care, Traditional family life, pace of life, Agriculture etc etc etc





Anonymous

said...

Thank you IANS

This is the first time that I read this. I have heard that the Italians are in worse shape than us. Where can I read the truth about that country do you know?If it is as you say I would move there if I could.

Donna





I am not Spartacus

said...

Dear Donna. Go there are see for your own self first hand. I did