I don’t know if I’ve trotted these ideas out before, although I have thought about them for a long time. The US was born a nation which had slaves, denied women the vote, undoubtedly condemned the love that dare not speak its name, and was generally populated by xenophobes. It took us longer than England to free our slaves, and we had to fight a civil war to get there. We did beat England on women’s right to vote, but not by much. Our sainted Lincoln cancelled habeas corpus until the Supreme Court convinced him to do otherwise, and Saint FDR was President when the Japanese were interned in World Ward II. Even after we freed the slaves, we treated African Americans badly, and only just elected a black man to the Presidency. However, Obama is not a typical African American, he is the son of an African father and a white woman, without some of the baggage of typical black Americans, enough of an apostrophe (er, asterisk) to be acceptable to whites as well as blacks. But only just.
Even right now a powerful minority of politicians are fighting expanding the health insurance/care available to our citizens, even though every other industrialized country has a single payer, national system. And yes, we invaded two countries after we were attacked on 9/11. One of those countries had the terrorist mastermind behind 9/11 as well as an oppressed people. And we let most of the terrorists escape and we badly managed the war and whatever reconstruction we tried has not worked out well either. And then there’s Iraq. It will go down in history as George Bush’s private crusade, although it is looking like Obama will be dragged into it. And we still don’t want those who practice the love that dare not speak it’s name to have many rights (still).
But, as I skimmed over the Declaration of Independence, posted at 2 Political Junkies, I realize that although we don’t think enough or talk enough about our own checkered past, we are still the best country in the world, in those ethical if murky concepts. We do stand for more, but we are human and fail often.
Just something to think about as we watch bright explosions in the sky tonight.