An aside concerning the Away of the last week.
The green family spent last week in Northern California, a beautiful respite from the devilish heat that has HQ surrounded on all sides, now and especially then. We spent the American Independence Day in a certain city among many, many thousands of observant fellow Americans and I will report without irony that it was perhaps the most patriotically American-feeling Independence Day directly observed in some time. The context of that particular city, noted over the preceding days, perfectly foreshadowed this Independence Day sensation, and for one simple reason: it is the future of America. Allow me to explain.
The often-fraught, always divisive and currently repellant political culture of this country is predicated on the future being poor, uneducated, overweight, uninsured and underemployed like much of the South currently finds itself. But that’s not what the future looks like, and I don’t mean this as some kind of self-styled optimist, because, while occasionally hopeful, I’m not quite that. The future, I was reminded, is made up of a multi-generational diversity of people from all corners, educated and bottle-fed the same American go-getterism but rid, somehow, of the hate, fear and disdain that we seem to think naturally comes with it. Those things are an add-ons – they actually don’t come standard, as it turns out. Of course, this is the reason certain parties attach so much fear to the future. Without the add-ons, things are different, people care, congregate and relate as they get on with the business of the country, which is business, of course. But they vote in favor of things like health care and fast trains, know they might, just might, be able to affect the amount of energy people use with a few more options and some incentives.
The folks in the tricornes fetishize the past and we should take them at their word. It is the past. And the faster it turns into the future, and it is (I saw it), the louder the screaming will be.
We pedaled rented, two-wheel crafts hand-forged in the heartland through acres of Americans of all ethnicities, setting up their grills, beer coolers, card tables, FLAGS and volleyball nets in public spaces meant for viewing the fireworks over the Bay later that evening. Did I say flags? Not a surprise, of course, it was American Independence Day. But it was a good reminder and perhaps most other places than the American South you don’t need one, but people coming here want to be here for more reasons than to take your crappy stuff and whatever motivated their grandparents, three generations in, they are Americans, if not the country itself. It was inspiring and reassuring.
And of course, that city is also filled with the requisite amount of crazy people, many of them homeless. Why so, other than delightful weather? Upon closer investigation it seems that the city in question funds adequate services for all of its citizens, include the least among them, mainly because the people in it believe them all to be part of humanity and not some garbage island off of it.
So enjoy some independence from the idea of a threatening future for a while. It could be bad enough without being fully-equipped with all the racist fear-mongering that has traveled so well up to now. And keep in mind, in some places within our own borders, people are already finding ways to put it aside. Plus, all the new kids are coming with the standard model features anyway. So hold the add-ons.