Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Happy Independence Day, America!

It's way too hot for a barbecue in Singapore right now. Over the weekend, we marked America's 241 years of existence by not blowing things up (fireworks and sparklers) or grilling meat. We settled for a couple of drinks with various friends, and with another bunch, hit up Burger Joint for burgers and beers. Occupied a booth and stayed for hours to chat.

Each of us have a continent, a city or a town that we hold dear to our hearts. For the man, it has always been Australia and America. For me, it has always been America although England is where many family ties are set; the English countryside forms a large part of fairly happy childhood memories. At this point in our lives, so much of what we do are also invested in America's west coast- our jobs, finances, music, good friends and family. We're aware of the politics, and the deeper politics within the states and towns we're more familiar with, up-to-date with its laws, taxes, etc. We don't see America as one united nation, oddly, or through rose-tinted lenses. It is a country, for all its greatness, is a country of increasing contradictions. It is as flawed as the next, and as perfect as its people wish it to be (or rather vote to be)

[Please applaud my efforts in avoiding a comment about American films and television, and he-orange-muppet-who-shall-not-be-named.] 

The United States of America remains an ongoing example of a democratic experiment, popularly defined by Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) as 'the government of the people, by the people and for the people'. Its civil society (people, movements and institutions) is almost certainly a product of its democratic system. How effective, is a matter open to debate right now. It feels as though the country is standing at the crossroads, on the brink of something, perhaps a re-shaping of her identity, perhaps walking away from the founding fathers' firm and united stance against despotism. What exactly, we don't even dare to speculate. Maybe every generation says that. I'm not American, so I'm still looking at it with an outsider's point of view. Our American friends' views only represent an echo chamber, and may not even indicate what the country's majority might possibly think. Well, here's to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 🇺🇸

A junction on Capitol Hill in Seattle, WA, a city I've come to love and know intimately.
This photo was taken just two months ago.

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