Tag Archives: Corvidae

America… my country.

Betsy Ross Flag in the Museum of the Ancient a...

…and crown thy good with brotherhood…

Today is the Fourth of July holiday. It’s a time for many Americans to cook out on the grill, watch fireworks, and eat snow cones. People will sit on patios with coolers of beer, listing to music, and talking about their friends and family while basking in the glory that is this nation. Being the pensive person I am, it’s a time for me to fly to the stars and see the big picture. What have we done? Was it worth it?

It is not inappropriate to remember what was done to attain this chunk of dirt. For better or worse, we pried land away from its original inhabitants. Settlers we not the bread-breaking pilgrims depicted in grade school. There was mayhem and murder on the lips of people hungry for fortune. They were willing to do anything, and convinced themselves of anything, to get it. In the end, it worked.

I cannot say I’m a proponent of reparations. What’s done is done. We can’t bring back the dead, as they are truly the ones that deserved the fair shake. Giving concessions to descendants for generations old atrocities is like throwing a twenty at a prostitute after beating the life out of her. That’s not helpful. This land has been settled for quite some time, and now by people who had nothing to do with it. Ripping property away from others isn’t the solution. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Well, then what? I understand there are others wrought with guilt for something in which they played no part. Their conscience nags them for no better reason than to delight in anxiety. Perhaps there’s a different approach? How about socializing with them? Maybe treating them like something other than a victim? This guilt needs to go. It was out of our control.

I’m open about being hard on my country and its citizens. It’s like the drill sergeant that picks on a certain cadet. They see the potential. They see the possibilities. They also see what it takes to get them to that destination. It’s a hard road, but the goal is appropriate. We have fought so much to establish freedom for the masses. Why aren’t we fighting to make it a more cohesive nation? Stability? Cooperation? Are there too many tag-alongs to prevent us from moving forward? God damn it, America, you’re better than that.

America is no longer an expanding country. At this stage in the game, “expansion” is replaced with “imperialism.” There’s a subtle difference, even if people are willing to ignore it. It seems to me many don’t think about it, and would rather be busy with their own personal agenda. As an established land, we need to focus on what has formed. I know I make it sound like we’ve recently acquired the Pacific states, but think about it. How many times do you hear people using terms like “German-American,” “Italian-American,” “Irish-American,” and so on. Personally, I hear it all the time. It’s like we’re not a sovereign nation.

The reason behind these cutesy little labels is simple. By doing so, we’re able to feed our egos via differentiation and create a special little club for belonging. There are two problems with this. First, no other country considers you their citizen when you are born here, and secondly, you’re romanticizing about a country your ancestors left. How many native born Americans of German descent have the first clue what it means to be German? There are plenty around here in Hooterville, and I can tell you the answer is little if any.

Everything’s a war these days: drugs, terrorism, economic class, race, etc. It’s like putting on another jersey and playing for a team within a team. We’re all on the same team. Some time or another, it has to be acknowledged the guy down the street is your countryman. It has to. Otherwise, our tacit in-fighting will hold us back from economic and social progress. We will continue to make minute distinctions between one another and not relate in a larger sense. “I’m not going to help him. He’s one of them.”

We are all Americans. Let’s celebrate as one.

…and remember, Ira Hamilton Hayes of the Pima Tribe was one of the six in this statue.

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My City by the Bay (Chapter 5, Part 1)

Old Town

SLS

(Photo credit: wilcreative)

The stakeout began early, and the SLS was parked a fair distance away from Chestnut Grove. Dawn was on the brink of breaking and Sig started to squirm already. He was an active man. Kinetic energy was the best energy, and like sharks, stopping could be deadly. All of this frustrated Benelli.

“Cut it out!” She finally spoke up, as the leather creaked under the seat of his pants.

“What?!” The peevish tone meant he was fully aware of the problem.

“Can’t you sit still? We’ve got the whole day to watch for this guy, and you’re jumping around like a jackass.”

“Not even your posh seating can soothe my animal spirit, Benelli!” Humor was always a good way to diffuse friction, but it was only rewarded with a heavy sigh.

About 8 o’clock, the old woman began her rounds near the cemetery with a replenished stock of floral material from God knows where. Blues, pinks, oranges, and yellows bobbed up and down in the cafeteria cart keeping in time with each pot hole. As she reached the gates, a pause was made in order to look around. A surveillance of her own was conducted, as it appeared something wasn’t kosher to her.

Both detectives thought they were far enough away to be inconspicuous. Without saying a word, they slowly slid down in their seat. Shaggy and Scooby had nothing on these two. Being caught could mean bad news, as it seemed she took a liking to Tiny. If she were to mention anything, it could put both their lives in jeopardy.

The observation took only a few seconds and the lady was on her way. Neither Sig nor Benelli could be certain if they were found out. All they could do was wait for the person of interest. McGreavy was next to desperate for answers, probably because the mayor’s office was getting a stream of phone calls about the “cowboy” on the force. That would be Sig, or “the Dunking Detective” as the writers at the Phoenix called him. Lucky for Sig, the Chief always went to bat for his team. Always, even though he was extremely tempted to throw Pauly under the bus for getting stuck in an abandoned refrigerator during a kidnapping case last year. Internally, it was a whole new ballgame. Sig imagined himself getting clocked with a Swingline if he didn’t come through.

After an hour of the news and playlist critiques, Sig eased into his typical pseudo-intellectual arguments. Benelli closed her eyes in dread, as it always ended up somewhere in left field with him convinced beyond reason. These bizarre assertions, like the Kool-Aid man being a metaphor for Satan, left a rational person in perpetual state of confusion. The tee was set and Sig led the kickoff.

“You know the saying ‘be yourself’?” He rolled his head to the side, and let it rest on his shoulder.

“Yes,” Benelli sighed.

“Well, I was thinking that isn’t very good advice.”

“Why do you say that?” Benelli was letting the discussion take its course. Otherwise he would pout like a four year old with a melted ice cream cone.

“We are constantly ourselves.”

“What about people who put up a front and pretend to be something they’re not? That’s not ‘being yourself.'”

“You mean like Phileas?”

“If this has anything to do with me, I swear I’ll punch you in the face!”

“Not directly, no. This is more of a macrolevel observation. People who use disguises are still themselves.”

“Right, which is why they should ‘be themselves.'”

“They are that already. Being in costume does not negate the fact that they are still being.”

“OK, wise guy, what would you prefer?”

“I’m glad you asked!” Sig’s eyes twinkled as the candy shop was open for business. “I would say to others ‘accept who you are’ instead. It’s much more productive.”

“If people simply accept who they are, then what if they are accepting poor behavior?” In no time, Benelli was sucked into the whirlpool of Sig’s mind.

“We all have a despicable side to us. That’s what makes us human. Let us say, for the sake of example, that Pauly’s a homophobe.”

“That’s not much of a stretch, Sig.”

“Granted, but given the options of open acknowledgement and closet confidence, which would you prefer? There isn’t any middle ground. So, don’t get all wishy-washy on me.”

“Fine, I would rather have him be open about his beliefs if only to avoid passive-aggression.”

“Right! It’s less stress to repress bad feelings and have them manifest themselves into dirty pool.”

“Well then, Mr. Know-it-all, where is the progress in that? If we accept our ill feelings, there would be no unity.”

“Unity is an illusion as long as we all come from different walks of life. That’s not to say there couldn’t be a healthy amount of cooperation, but as it stands now, unity has too many variables in the way. That said, a person isn’t prevented from working on changing their beliefs. Never once did I say it was impossible. I merely suggest they accept themselves and not feign camaraderie. However, since you’ve broached that topic, I will say any useful amount of cooperation (non-common-enemy cooperation that is) will require an earnest effort from all parties involved.”

“I don’t follow.”

“What I’m saying is any marginalized group of people would need to provide positive support to the ‘offending’ party in question. That’s where the real progress is. Society isn’t a one-way street. A problem can’t be solved by focusing on one side of the equation. Right now, efforts for equality are based on bombastic shouting matches and political power plays throughout all levels of government. That is not true progress, and it sure as Hell ain’t unity.”

“What’s the plan then, Plato?”

“To support equality, the canonized population should not be left to its own devices. Equality is a push in the card game of life. The underdog needs to interface in an accessible manner with the other, and vice versa. The combativeness to acquire a ‘privilege’ will alienate those perceived to have it. Balance should never feel like it’s being bullied.”

“So, what, you want me to throw a cook out for Pauly?! That’s your answer for gay rights?”

“Perhaps… the fat boy does like hot dogs. I’ve seen him down a pack of Hebrew National like a bag of chips.”

“I’m not buying it.”

“OK, I’ll spring for the franks, but you’ll have to get a grill. I can’t afford that.”

Benelli rolled her eyes. How did they get from acceptance to hot dogs? She hated hot dogs.

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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