This week America celebrates its 231st birthday. While we may no longer be the youngest country by a long shot, thanks to the breakup of the former Soviet Union, unstability in Africa and the Middle East, and South East Asia we still hold ourselves as cultural infants as societies go. While geo-political maps may change and countries come and go their people and cultures pretty much stay the same. Eastern Europe may hold the newest nations, but they have some deep cultural roots that are well established and can be traced back to pre Constintene and Roman Empire.
America does have one thing going for it, 231 years of pure republic democracy. Granted we are not a pure democracy, like ancient Greece, but our democratic system has passed the test of time and turmoil, the War Between the States (its largest test to hold the nation together) being the only time this was seriously in question of working. We have maintained a peaceful transfer of power with no real incidents of bloodshead, political conventions don’t count, even with 4 presidents assassinated the government continued to opperate and there were no revolutions to follow. This foundation of time tested stability and tradition have served us well as we are still the most immigrated to country in the world and the one everyone cries to when things go wrong.
While this July 4th may seem like our influence and popularity are at its lowest, rest assured it is not. We, as Americans, have been caught up in our own creations of media sensationalism, knee jerk preceptionism, and conceses of popular preception (even if it is wrong). In today’s era of war, terrorism, activest judges, criminal legislatures, out of control executive branches, legislation by lobbiests and shaping public opinion we need to realize one basic and simple fact. We are all Americans and we can complaign and dissent and get away with all we can because of how well put together our country is.
231 years, most of which we are governed by a document that was written for a different time and era but was crafted in such a way as to allow it to become a living document, one that stands the test of time, one that guarentees our freedoms and rights, one that holds our laws to a measure that no other country can claim. Our constitution is 218 years old as law of the land (written in 1787, adopted in 1788, took effect in 1789) and this IS the oldest written constitution operating in the world, period. Our current situation is nothing new, nor nothing bad by perspective to our long and storied history. Our constitution has steered this nation for a vast majority of our journey and will continue to do so, with a few tweeks here and there via ammendments. Don’t listen to the polorizing Chicken Little’s of the far left and right who try to scare the moderate majority into their camp, for this is the only real danger we face.
Of the 231 years we have been free and Independent of our British founders we still have not been able to formulate a culture unique to our own. I am beginning to believe this lack of real culture is really our culture. While living in the oldest cultural and social region of the planet I have been able to see things from a different view point. Many of our cultural norms were burrowed from our original countries and societies. Today very few Americans universally will do the same thing as all cultures across our planet do. When I was growing up all children would saw the Pleadge of Alligance before the going to class. We all celebrated Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and looked forward to Halloween, Valentine’s Day and the two holidays marking summers beginning and ending, Mamorial Day and Labour Day. Today many of these seemingly cultural happenings have been banished and burried on the scrap heap under the far left machines known as Political Correctness as they offend those who do not agree. We are a country of inclussion, which is why we have little to no culture. We no longer have a common language, food, religion/holiday, or taboo… all of which define a culture/society. Our culture is the lack of a culture. To be American simply means to be what you were in your home country but without fear of being arrested or killed because of it.
We have abandoned our attempts of creating a culture. All attempts to retain any portion of cultural normality have been stripped because they offended someone. The one great claim to fame our country will have will be that we never established a real culture, only an anti-culture. We now have become obcessed disconnecting ourselves because of this lack of culture. We login to chat rooms, blogs (like this one), avitar populated virtual reality sites, online game sites, use text messaging and cell phones, use email and IM to connect on our terms, seperating ourselves from what every culture on the planet uesed to originate, personal communication. We no longer have a common thread binding us all together as a culture, just as a nation. Fortunately our forefathers were smart enough to develop a constitution that can survive this existance. While we may be disconnected from those around us, we are bound by our political system that allows us to continue down this path to where ever it leads. Even if our political system suffers a national election where only 8% or less of the population votes, it will survive, becaue over the last 231 years we have proved our system is damn near bullet prood.
On this day try to do something American, publically fly a flag (I am doing this from inside Communist China), light some sparklers, go see a public fireworks show(because many places have outlawed them for regular people to buy), eat a hot dog, get an apple pie, watch a Jon Wayne movie, listen to Elvis or hum the "Stars and Stripes", drink a beer, watch some baseball or watch the national festivities on cable TV. I would suggest looking up and reading the Star Spangled Banner (our national anthem I bet less then 10% of the country knows all the words too), My Country Tis of Thee, God Bless America, America the Beautiful and maybe even singing one or two of them. Many of these songs could not be written today because of the religous or exclusion references they make but they are 100% American and should be dusted off and revisited every now and then. Of course in homage of our current national obcession you can do nothing but enjoy the day off and think nothing of it, because our constitution allows you that right.
Today we celebrate our 231st birthday as a nation, as a culture and society we are more lost then any of our generations before us. Before we had a country we had a culture, somewhere between 1940 and 1990 we lost what little we had, but that is ok. Then last 17 years have shown us culture is not important, its our country and its abilty to function that is important, and it will go on long past our children’s childrens days.