Saturday, July 05, 2008

Fourth of July Meme

Blogger is still resisting the posting of photos, so the cherry/raspberry post is still languishing in the drafts.

this meme is courtesty Toast

Are you "proud to be an American"?

I have that whole "conflicted" thing happening when it comes time to be proud. I know that I've been very lucky, I grew up not only poor, but reservation poor. I'm not poor today. That happened here. Proud though? I'm not proud to be a citizen who feels more and more like a subject every day. I was proud of how right after the 9/11 the newspapers of Paris, Moscow, Tehran, Madrid, Rio, hell, all over the world stood up to be with us in our grief. Now, they hate us for what we have allowed ourselves to become. Not proud. Not lately.

Favorite Founding Father?

John Adams. He has been my favorite for a very long time. We know of Adams' faults and weaknesses because he told on himself all the time. One of the sublimest moments of sheer political courage in the service of right and justice came when he undertook the legal defense of the British soldiers from the Boston Massacre. I quote a phrase from his opening remarks all the time, especially when Bush tells yet another outrageous lie. Facts are stubborn things.

Favorite president?

George Washington. He didn't want the job, he didn't like the job, yet, when it was evident that he was really the only man for the job he took it on and did the very best he could. He tried to instill non-partisan thinking, he had a cabinet of geniuses, Jefferson, Adams, Jay, Hamilton, all volatile and powerful thinkers and personalities. He was not only essential he was damned near mandatory. Without Washington with his sheer force of reputation, honor and personality there might not have been a United States.

Biggest "Patriotic Moment"?

As the seige of Dong Ap Bai was lifted, we were greeting the helos that were carrying our wounded out and bringing water, food, ammunition, and medical supplies. Somebody noticed that the flag on our command hootch was still up. Three times during the two and a half day fight, which at one point got so bitter that I put an edge on the blade of my entrenching tool to be ready for the inevitable running out of ammo, the flag had been shot off its stand. Three times, that I saw anyway, one of us at incredible risk managed to get it back up. It was tattered, scorched, ripped, and dirty, just like us. It was dawn of the third day of Tet when the resumption of air cover and supply had turned the fight to our favor, and prevented us being overrun and annihilated. Somebody saw that little flag and started to sing the National Anthem. Pretty soon all of us were singing it. Singing it over and over while tears streamed down our faces. Singing it while tending the many wounded, who were also singing. Singing the National Anthem, at dawn, after a bitter fight that was nearly lost at many points. The song was so very real. My sense of relief, grief for the fallen, pride in our stubborn resistance, all overwhelmed me. It has never been the same for me since.

Favorite patriotic song?

The Rifleman's Song At Bennington

Why come ye hither, Redcoats,
Your minds what madness fills?
In our valleys there is danger,
And there's danger in our hills.
Oh hear ye not the ringing
Of the bugle wild and free?
Full soon you'll hear the singing
Of the rifle from the tree.

cho: For the rifle, for the rifle.
In our hands will prove no trifle.

Ye ride a goodly steed,
Ye may serve a foreign master;
Ye forward come with speed,
But ye'll learn to back much faster,
When ye meet our mountain boys
And their leader, Johnny Stark,
Lads who make but little noise,
Lads who always hit the mark!

Have ye no graves at home
Across the briny water,
That hither ye must come
Like bullocks to the slaughter?
If we the work must do,
Why the sooner 'tis begun,
If flint and trigger hold but true,
The quicker 'twill be done!


John Stark was a ringtailed motherfucker in a fight.

Favorite American cuisine?

Local ingredients, raised, prepared in the local style, by local folks. This extends to fish tacos in San Diego, to taco trucks in L.A. To clams at Ivor's in Seattle, all over the country there are wonderful little mom and pop operations. My least favorite American cuisine is anything from a fucking chain.

Happiest political moment of your life?

Hearing Barack Obama speak on race.

Best fireworks display you've ever seen?

The fucking napalm and other shit they dropped on the assualting forces at Dong Ap Bai. Shit was beautiful.

America's gift to the world?

Emma Lazarus' poem on the base of the Statue of Liberty. Even as we fail to live up to those words, the mere trying to come close is ennobling.

Favorite Bill of Rights right?

One. No goddamned explanation needed.

Favorite American Holiday?

Columbus day. It perfectly illustrates the cognitive dissonance required to be an American. Columbus, while lost at sea, was discovered, and rescued by Native Americans. Yet, to hear them talk, our history begins there. Totally fucked up, yet somehow, totally American, and kind of cool in its own way.

Favorite D.C. monument?

That. Wall. Devastating. Perfect memorial, perfect art.

Your dream for America's future?

That we have an America, and a future. It's hard to hold onto much hope.



Thanks Toast!

Big Brass Blog

9 Comments:

Blogger Mike said...

Beautiful stuff, Minstrel. About George Washington, Emma Lazarus, local food, and especially this:

Singing the National Anthem, at dawn, after a bitter fight that was nearly lost at many points. The song was so very real. My sense of relief, grief for the fallen, pride in our stubborn resistance, all overwhelmed me.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

As mike said, thank you for sharing that moment at Dong Ap Bai. Terribly apropos for this holiday. Experiencing such an amazing moment could not help but change a life.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Karen said...

I just followed this over from Tata's. Weird, I almost moved to Queen Creek. I've never seen it in a blog before, so it just sort of leveled me here.

I love Santan Flat Saloon.

Ok I'll go read your posts now.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Karen said...

I just followed this over from Tata's. Weird, I almost moved to Queen Creek. I've never seen it in a blog before, so it just sort of leveled me here.

I love Santan Flat Saloon.

Ok I'll go read your posts now.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Karen said...

Sorry. Dang! I hate it when I repeat myself

5:38 PM  
Blogger Bukko_in_Australia said...

Since you put it out there, here's my answers:

Are you "proud to be an American"?

I'm proud to be an American culturally. We are a "can-do" people, at least those of us who were inculcated with the ideals of American glory, before the country got to be fat, lazy, selfish and hubristic. Aussies, bless their hearts, want to stand around discussing the correct procedure to lift/clean an obese, immobile patient who's covered in poo, or to whinge when certain supplies like IV tubing aren't available because our unit has run out and it's the weekend so the stores department is closed. My attitude is "git 'er done" so I'll just dead-lift the patient, or I'll go to my secret stash of supplies that I've squirreled away because I know what we're always short of. This is how the American ethos became the world standard. I hope the country hasn't lost it.

Favorite Founding Father?

Benjamin Franklin. He was a sly old devil; the antithesis of the greedy bastards and Puritan arseholes now dominant in U.S. politics. And he was not averse to a bit of jolly boinking, either.

Favorite president?

Abraham Lincoln. He saw the Big Picture of the nation, and he knew sadness on a societal and personal level. He was human.

Biggest "Patriotic Moment"?

Many times, our biggest patriotic moments are when we're out of the country. For me, it was July 4, 1980 when I was staying on a kibbutz just south of the Sea of Galilee. Apart from wishing we could have a fire-worky air strike on the Jordanian mud-hut village across the Yarmuk River, and feeling frustrated because we didn't know which agricultural chemicals to combine to make explosives (Tim McVeigh wasn't there to provide teaching until a quarter-century later) I was sad to be in a place where the Fourth meant nothing. That summer, I sang "U.S. Blues" by the Greatful Dead in my head a lot.

Favorite patriotic song?

"This Land is Your Land," the radical/populist version by Woody Guthrie.

Favorite American cuisine?

Pizza. Not the Italian kind, which is more about the crust. American pizza is about the cheese, great gooey wads of the stuff. You don't know how good it is until you're elsewhere and you just can't find it.

Happiest political moment of your life?

When Howard Holtzendorf, a local judge who had screwed me out of $5,000 in punitive fines to be paid to my ex-wife, who had better-connected divorce lawyers than me. was resoundingly thrown out of office by the voters in DeSoto County, Florida. He had screwed a lot of people...

Best fireworks display you've ever seen?

I've seen some good ones, like the 1976 display on the Washington Mall. But the one that made the biggest impression on me was in 1964, when I was 6, and there was a metal outline of JFK's face lit up with sparklers. The assassination was still fresh in everybody's mind, so it was touching.

America's gift to the world?

The idea of having a people's democracy. It was radical at the time. It was also more of a sales job than reality, when you look at how things were done in the United States at the time. But the ideal was great!

Favorite Bill of Rights right?

I'm with you on the First. Now if America would only be serious about following it...

Favorite American Holiday?

Thanksgiving. Not for the food, but the philosophy.

Favorite D.C. monument?

Marine Corps Memorial. That's a macho fucking monument, mate!

Your dream for America's future?

That it would start living its supposed values instead of just talking about them.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

the First Amendment is a really good one..... and i like the hamburger hill, Tet Offensive piece too...... orange crush

6:44 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thank you, bukko, for a good perspective from abroad.

4:32 PM  
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7:14 PM  

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