Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday, USA.

We've all gotten so cynical. It took me a moment to remember that a) today is a holiday and b) the reason for the holiday. Yes, I hear you all scream, wee have many problems and things SHOULD be better! With the recent row concerning Google search modifications made for the government of China, I believe we should also remember what is still right and good about The United States of America.

As long as I don't slander, threaten, or coerce our President, or anyone else, I am free to write what I please in this blog and even to actually correspond with the president. When President Clinton was about a year-and-a-half into his first term, a clergy person wrote yet another 'tell all' book about Mr. Clinton. I was not then, nor am I now a political fan of Mr. Clinton. I know how valuable things religious can be. I have complete confidence, that, if I become famous my former and current pastors won't break their promise of confidentiality to write a book. I was so outraged I wrote the President and even composed a prayer. I realized the odds of my letter actually getting to Mr. Clinton were small, but I'd rather try and fail, then not to try at all.

I was completely shocked, when about a month later I received a letter that had all kinds of stamps, initials and check boxes all over the outside of the envelope, from The White House! I got the distinct impression, that part of the reply was a standard form letter, which was added to by President Clinton. I am glad I live in a country like that.

I am free to travel. Next year I'll be doing a week in Boston. I eventually hope to visit England and France. All I have to do, to go abroad, is to obtain a passport, pay a fee and I'm off across the Atlantic. I do not fear being picked up by the authorities for anything, real, or imagined.

Because our world has gotten progressively crazier, when one does write the White House, the correspondence may be checked by the Secret Service, in case your letter is a threat. I'm sure the Secret Service never saw my correspondence, as I was just a regular citizen expressing an opinion. I do know a mental patient, who sent President Reagan, a full frontal nude post card of himself. He has correspondence from every police and governmental agency in the country! When I saw his postcard to Reagan, I wondered if he has a Secret Service file, he does. They have to keep track of mentally unstable people in the event that they turn violent. A sad commentary on our increasingly chaotic world.

In smaller towns parades and fairs are still to be found. Oakland California used to have a wonderful event called "festival at the Lake". Ringing Lake Merritt would be booths with food and all kinds of crafts. A stage was also set up, where various acts would perform over a period of three days. Oakland had to stop this event because of gang violence and rioting. I personally don't enjoy large milling crowds, but I am sad that Oakland had to shut the event down.

So, I'm glad this country exists, even with its faults and problems. Enjoy your barbecues, parades and fireworks. Remember that there are places on our planet right now, where it would be illegal and dangerous to assemble en mass for anything.
Happy Birthday USA.

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