Friday, July 3, 2009

Father Of An Agent And Patriotic Day

It's the holiday of holidays in America. The Fourth. The day to celebrate all things USA. I tend to skip it. Unless there is pie; I'll show up for pie.

As I have documented here, I am in the middle on a lot of issues. Not a moderate, but interested in all sides, that's me. The one place I am probably far to the "left," much as I dislike the term, is jingoism. I do not support a country, any country, for the same reason that I do not support a political party: I don't accept that others who think differently, act differently, or speak differently are in any way inferior to me.

That said, I do LIKE it here. I live here. My parents were born here, as well as my kids. It's a lovely place. There are some good people, some nice places to live. I just don't really feel the need to go nuts expressing things I like about the States, especially at the expense of others. I certainly don't want any of my likes or dislikes to get caught up with issues like military might and imperialistic financial systems. It's a far cry from "the Cascades are pretty" to "bomb Iran," in other words, and I'd prefer to just be left out of the whole discussion.

Because the one thing I do actively hate about America is our violence. This is a country that fetishizes and relishes violent spectacle. We love it. When people ask me what I liked most about Japan when I lived there, I usually talk about the transportation system, which is great. But the honest answer is that I liked how peaceful, in general, the people were. No one was ever going to resort to violence to solve mundane problems, and I liked that. As a person who loves people, and wants the best for them, seeing how easily we rely on violence in this country, how much we seem to enjoy violence, sickens me.

I'm not a complete pacifist. I admire those who are. I would even admit that they are probably better people than me. But though I would never swear to refrain from any violent activity, I don't think it's good. I don't think it's nice, and certainly I would never say it's fun. It may be, may possibly be, necessary, at times. But it's awful that it is.

I wonder what I am teaching my kids about violence. I wonder if I can even shape their opinions. Viri, yesterday, was walking past a police car. He pointed at it, and asked if it was a police car. I said yeah. I wasn't really paying attention, this is a big city, police are everywhere. He pulled me around to face the car, and said very seriously: "Thank them, Papa! Thank them for the hard work they do!" I laughed, and it was funny. But I wonder what conversations are in store for us. What will Viri's attitude towards these institutions be? It almost makes me want to move somewhere else. If it is his nature, however, there is no where that would really matter. I guess what I can do is teach him, steer his ideas, and accept who he will become. I definitely don't want him to grow up to be a carbon copy of me. The opposite of me is fairly scary, too. I hope he finds kindness and wisdom, and is a good Taviri. I hope this country, the good, the bad and the ugly, is a pathway to that. Happy Fourth, I guess. Don't hurt anyone today, America.

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