Monday, July 08, 2013

On The Whole, I'd Rather Be In Philadelphia

Okay kids, raise your hands if you're proud to be an American. Alright. Maybe that was the wrong question. How about this one: Raise your hands if you're relieved to be an American. That's better. I'll count myself in that second group. While we chase Eric Snowden across the globe and ask our neighbors if they wouldn't please mind so very much handing him back over, and we bicker about who can marry whom and if they happen to come across our borders illegally could they get married as long as they promise not to listen to our phone calls, I'm still relieved to be an American.
I can turn on the faucet in my kitchen and drinkable water comes out. There are places in the world where that's not true. Some of our homes have even become efficient enough to pass their water and natural gas through the same pipes, but we seem to be in the midst of arguing about that as well. The very fact that we are able to fuss about so much about our own culture without having to resort to armed insurrection is a testament to the strength of our union.
On the Fourth of July, our neighborhood once again blew up in all manner of color and sparkling reports. I recalled the time a friend of mine visited on an Independence Day a few years back. He had just returned from a trip that took him through Beirut, and he said that our little corner of Oakland was reminiscent of the night skies of Lebanon. The difference was that ours were the happy, celebratory shells. They weren't aimed at anything but the dark. Even though it would be impossible to convince my dog of this, the artillery outside our house on July Fourth was celebratory in nature. The danger was primarily for those who forgot to light, and run away.
That's not the case in Egypt. There's a lot of lighting and running away, but most of the running away is being done by the folks who aren't doing the lighting. They're aiming. The Egyptian Army is using tanks and helicopters and guns to affect the change that we here in America tend to wait around until November for. This whole democracy thing is still kind of new in the Middle East, and my guess is that they will eventually get used to it, but for now it's a little scary out there. So, for those of our readers who happen to be in one of those more frightening regions, I'd like to pass along some advice from my dog: crawl under the desk and wait it out.

No comments: