What is Drastic + Dramatic

Friday, July 05, 2013

Land that I Love

I hiked partway up a mountain an hour before sunset tonight. The lovely display of nature yawning and sinking to sleep behind the far mountains was an idyllic setup for the firework shows to follow. From up where I sat I was able to see several dozen shows popping up around Utah valley. It was a game of whack-a-mole for my eyes, scanning up and back, a quick visual mallet-bonk on each erupting spark. I shut my eyes and yet behind closed lids they still reflexively chased the echoing bursts, pops, and whistles entering my ears from around the valley. These words danced in my head and even escaped on a tune from my lips:
the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air . . . but the flag was still there

Thought stirred with feeling as I sat atop the hill thinking of all those people celebrating.
So many people have filled this valley since those pioneers rolled in 160-some years ago.  
This is a great big world . . . small in comparison to some, but so very big. 
This country has supplied more than a fair share of glaring rockets and bursting bombs in other countries. 
So many dogs are scared right now.
Land of which freedoms, home of how many truly brave?
All those people having their individual celebrations—most are seeing only one show. I see them all.
Do I feel guilty about that? Nah.
All those spurts looks like that part in The Dark Knight Rises when all the manhole covers burst with flame, except these burst with sparkles. Maybe more like an active lava field where pressurized molten sparkles spray from the street-lamp-speckled earth. A herd of fairy whales surfacing, clearing their magical blowholes, splashing up and down and up from electric puddles around the baking city.
Everyone down there is celebrating because, probably, they believe in America. It's interesting that every single inhabitant of this country can believe in America without needing to believe in God. And that doesn't comfort me, but somehow it represents freedom to me, and if we can't be one nation under God, I'd somberly accept one nation unified at least in the belief of that old American hope.

As I later drove home to Salt Lake valley, even more shows exploded along the way. As I rounded the point of the mountain and saw the celebrations going on above the quiet prison, I thought, do prison mates get to watch fireworks? Surely no choice that lands you in there is worth losing the freedom to celebrate. There is no hero's welcome in prison for a citizen who gives up his or her life on the battlefield of impulse to steal a cheap replica of freedom.

For me it seems easy to love America. I don't know, maybe patriotism is just something you're born with, as with bones or strands of DNA. And America's become so normal to me I forget how great she is, how she could be if we let her. She's only as free as the feet treading on her. And when she's sick, hurting, bruised, I get sad. I get sad because it takes a lot of people to hurt such a large country, and so when it gets to the point where she's hurting, a deep lot of things have happened to get her there.

And yet she finds ways of healing her wounds, of drawing the attention of those who should be caring for her to step up and remember. Stand up and defend. Bend the knee and remember compassion. Reach out and help a neighbor.

And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me.

It is written and many believe that freedom, liberty, is an inalienable right. That means it can't be taken from the possessor. Did you know we also define it as the possessor can't give it away, either? This implies that freedom is a human right, not an American right. Only those humans, true patriots who don't hurt their given country and would that no country be oppressed, will gain access to practice that right.

The lyrics above give an insight to where one access point of freedom is found: men who died. How does death unlock the right to freedom? If we can possess it because others died to defend it, surely we must believe we could lose our access to freedom if others die in a pursuit to pump it into the unsuspecting structures of foreign societies. I'm not saying other countries couldn't use help to lift the oppression of their governing powers, but how can patriots be born if the citizens die at the hand that reached to help them?

Because some covet oppression so much they cannot even see the value of freedom, countries war to reclaim their inalienable right to freedom. Our world has fished some real crazies from the ever-evolving seas of tyranny. And so patriots go, prepared to give their lives, to give the countries an opening to freedom. And I won't forget how I'm free.

My government would never die for me; it cannot give me the right to freedom. These days, true patriots who desire to be elected to an office for the pursuit of real liberty aren't often found. By their works we shall know them. But unfortunately, by the media are their works filtered, twisted, polluted, and glazed so that we hardly know real from script, authentic from special effect. The media likes reality TV, beauty pageants, talent contests, game shows, and that's what the political scene has become, nearly entirely forgetting the men who died who set up their rights to stand, speak, offer to serve in government.

So many have forgotten that government is a service. Some who seek a position in government want it to serve them. Few would ever die for their country if it came to it. There are a fading number of patriots elected to fill our government.

But what do I really know? I don't stroll through the separate world that politics has become in our nation. It saddens me to see America's own blood attack itself and weaken the immunity. She'd heal well with some unity.

And all that said, I still believe in America. I believe in my creator, God. I believe in the inalienable rights we're trying to latch on to like newborn babes. I believe that goodness prevails in the hearts of many, many Americans. I believe that many others are one kind gesture away from believing in themselves again. I believe we can revive our nation one treading step, one better choice, one sacrifice for the greater good, one person at a time.
“We don’t have to consider just statistics to be reminded that America is still good. . . . Most of them are honest. Most of them try to do their duty and live unselfish and responsible lives. Most Americans honor their commitments to their marriages, their families, their employers, their communities. Most Americans show compassion and courage to the needy. Most Americans still look at their children and see strength and optimism in their eyes.” – Seven Miracles that Saved America

What is a nation without a free people? A government. I love this land for what it stands for deep down: opening the right to freedom to all mankind. She's old, worn out, but still beautiful. Now if God were allowed to do a quick facelift to smooth out those few 237-year-old wrinkles she might just feel good as new.

1 comment:

Merilee said...

Emily, you always inspire me with your poetic expression. I like it. I love it. I can't wait to see you in 2 weeks. Love you so much.

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