7/04/2009 11:49:00 pm

Happy Fourth

Posted by Tom French |

Today was Independance Day and it was good.

We'd decided to have a slow day. So it was breakfast late, followed by a movie (The Hangover - inappropriate and rather funny), followed by reading and snoozing. It was a good day.

Tonight we went to the fireworks a Culver City High School. It was exciting to go to something local, seeing what locals do. The event was on the high school football field. We sat in the bleechers surrounded by families while their 5 year olds agreesivly launched beach balls at us. The whole fied was surrounded by American flags and bunting. There was a stage at the front with a band playing classic rock songs. It was good fun. We even did Mexican waves in honour of America's illegal immigrants.

We wanted to eat hot dogs but they sold out.

The fireworks themsleves were more impressive than any school in Sydney would put on, but still small. But we weren't there for the fireworks. The fireworks were to a soundtrack of patriotic songs. I didn't know there were so many songs about American out there. I was thinking about it, in Australia we don't have any. At least none like these, God Bless America, Freedom Reigns, God Bless the USA, etc. We have Land Down Under, which is about vegemite and people vomiting, Waltzing Matilda, about a guy who kidnaps a sheep then suicides and I Still Call Australia Home, which, well that's alright. But none of them sound like praise and worship for Australia. I think I like that, because some of the American songs a little embarrassing.

Still I appreciate their love of their country. They don't play down their pride. And they love their freedom. The fireworks were the Freedom Fireworks. The songs were about freedom. And as I mentioned before every war as been fought in the name of freedom. I'm not even sure what Australia is all about. Mateship? Fair Go? Being girt by sea? I don't know. I love being Australian but buggered if I know what it actually means to be Australian.

Freedom is pretty good. It's better than conformist totalitarianism. I think perhaps I feel a little bit uncomfortable with the impression I get from here that America is the world leader in freedom. Like they invented it and export it to the rest of the world. But certainly if there is anything for a democratic society to get excited about freedom is good. Love might be better. Freedom, while positive, seems to feed into idividualism and self-interest, while love leads to community and selflessness.

But if there was a country that was all about love they'd totally get payed out by all the other countries. Their delegate to the UN would get picked on by every other UN delegates, even the African one who don't get to pick on anyone. When it comes to national values, love is for pansies. And if you dedicated your war memorials to those who "Fought and died in the cause of love" the irony would probably be a little to obvious. So freedom is better.

But like I said it's not as if Australia stands for love either. We do like to be good at swimming though. Swimming is pretty good too. Like freedom I guess.

Happy Fourth.

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