Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Progress, and Pride

Our retaining wall is more than an idea. It is form and function, and it is almost complete. These guys have been working very hard. I think plaster is next and then it will be capped with royal saltillo bull nosed brick, so that we can sit on it or set Grandma's macetas on top of it. I'm also enjoying the stone path they arranged to go up to the high point of the slope. It makes the ascent steadier. I am celebrating the pleasure of having really good ideas implemented by other skilled people. Our most pressing issue is finding projects to complete that work around the gaping holes that Mission Pools still has criss-crossing the prairie.

Geoff is not working tomorrow. We are going to find some way to honor the 4th of July. We are the generation raised on national self contempt, distrust, mistrust and disillusionment. We were assured by anyone who had traveled abroad that Americans were greedy, corrupt, without culture or values, bad cooks, ignorant and a primary source of the world's woes. When I was a kid we were regularly visited by Harry, a college English professor, and his Swiss wife. They came to hang out with my parents and to condemn us as 'typical lazy American kids, watching too much tv, eating twinkies, making Christmas lists and playing with store bought toys.' Shameful, ugly Americans. If you weren't about protest, or controversy or political correctness , then you were surely shallow or naive, artless, unsophisticated. We have heard, ad nauseum, about American shortcomings, disgraces and failures.

This year is different. We find ourselves looking for a broader vision; the whole picture has to include more than just 'what Americans don't do right.' We want to embrace the strengths of this nation, and to celebrate the ideals and potential that were born and have evolved since the founding of this country. This year we are telling our sons that as a nation we strive to create a place for freedom, for men, women and children. We are not perfect; no nation is. But we have a set of laws and expectations that insist we look out for each individual's rights, and we have a government that is dynamic and with our involvement can be representative of our values. We can overcome ignorance and missteps. We should not let go of the vision: That all men are created equal; we have inalienable rights. These truths are self evident, but have been obscured by years of bitterness and self loathing. We are home to many languages, religions, faces and voices and we do a praiseworthy job of making it all work. Our greatness doesn't lie only in what we are, but also in our potential to improve. We plan to celebrate the good stuff, give credit to our achievements, honor the men and women who strive to make this a better country, and world.

Geoff brought home a flag pole for our big flag, and tomorrow we'll grill some Boca burgers and checkout the fireworks. We'll talk about our favorite television shows and desserts, Disneyland, camping in National Parks, reading books, singing anything we like, the best rest stops in Iowa, birds we've seen and places we'll go, and how great it is to live here, in the United States of America. I will be happy to hand my children a legacy of pride in their country, constructive, insightful criticism of their country, and the inspiration to carry on the fight for freedom, individual rights and justice in their country.

Thank you nurses and firefighters, teachers and Peace Corp volunteers, police officers, letter carriers and mediators. Thank you Heifer Project, Habitat for Humanity and Pediatric AIDS Foundation, MADD and the Kidney Foundation. Thank you to the Lutheren women who quilt, and sew pajamas. Thank you Rancho Coastal Humane Society, and Dr. Gee. Thank you Hans, and men and women like you, for stepping forward in our defense. Happy Fourth of July!

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