One of the blogs I enjoy reading is by a Canadian writer who lives and works in New York. On Canada Day, July 1, she posted 20 things she loves about Canada.
Music was among those things, and she included Bare Naked Ladies, to which I say “hear, hear.” Way to go, northerners. Oddly, she did not list Celine Dion. Then again, I won’t list Country Music.
Anyway, can I quickly name 20 things I love about being from Los Estados Unitos on July 4th? I’ll try, even if a friend once noted we should celebrate Sept. 3—the day we and Britain signed the Treaty of Paris in 1783, which meant Great Britain recognized an independent United States. July 4 wasn’t even the day the independence was declared (independence was voted on and approved July 2, July 4 was just the day the note to King George was accepted and signed), and we’re just celebrating the beginning of a struggle for independence, something that happened early in a long and closely fought war. We weren’t independent until Sept. 3, 1783, and should remember that.
So, anyway, what 20 things do I love about my homeland?
- The freedom to be iconoclastic and plan an American Birthday Party Sept. 3.
- Joss Whedon, “Firefly” and “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Video Blog.”
- Mark Twain and a more accessible national literary tradition he began.
- My mother, my father and their generation who responded to growing up in poverty during the Great Depression by kicking Hitler’s butt and building the most prosperous country the globe has ever seen.
- That Sarah Palin quit as Governor of Alaska and will never, ever, be elected to anything of consequence ever again.
- The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Funny, but also a clear voice of reason.
- Fareed Rafiq Zakaria and his excellent show on CNN Sunday mornings—another voice of reason, and a living reminder that part of what makes America great is …
- A quilt of a national character stitched together on the dreams of immigrants. Let us not forget that the huddled masses yearning to be free have always added more to this country than they burden this country with, and that’s as true today when the masses are from Mexico as it was when my Irish maternal ancestors fled starvation in the mid 19th century or my Hungarian paternal grandparents brought over most of their kids early in the 20th century (my dad, one of the final kids of his generation, was eligible to be President no matter what Republicans might say—despite “foreign” parents, he was as American as Barack Obama, and was born in Ohio).
- The fact that some 143 years after concluding a great Civil War that finally settled the supremacy of the federal government and ended slavery, a black man was elected president. May we be so fortunate as to elect a woman soon. Michelle, given any thought to public office?
- The hamburger. Yes, it’s not health food, and yes, it’s named after a town in Germany, but it’s really an American delight. Yum.
- Fresh sweet corn and garden-ripened tomatoes. True American treats, home-grown native plants that taste like a bit of heaven only for a few weeks a year—but might still be available when we legitimately celebrate our independence Sept. 3 …
- Weird Al. Saw him do Gaga on “The View” today. He was born that way.
- American movies. My Cousin Vinny. Casablanca. Gone with the Wind. Zoolander. South Pacific. Oscar. Fantasia. The Sound of Music. Tootsie. Zombieland. Airplane. Not an exhaustive list, but while many countries have produced great films, Hollywood produces great entertainment. It can be bad—Jerry Lewis is a comic genius, but only in France—but it can be wonderful, too.
- Donald Westlake. Seriously, read “Drowned Hopes” and tell me you don’t feel that you know New York a bit better even if you’ve never been there.
- Apple pie. Apple butter. Apple computers. Apples may be Asian, but they are now as American as, well, you know.
- The best darn chocolate chip cookies on the planet, and I’m the one who bakes them.
- Cold beer. They can have it warm in Europe. I’ll take it cold.
- That soccer was never our national sport. Not to knock soccer and its global fans, but I prefer American football, basketball or even baseball. Soccer is too much “maybe, maybe, maybe … NO!” for the American psyche, to paraphrase Dave Barry.
- Dave Barry. And Bill Bryson, who is a Brit these days, but still writes with the voice of a boy from Des Moines, Iowa.
There you have it, my quick list. I’m sure there are more profound things, like freedom of speech, that are dearer to my heart, and other inventions, like recorded music, that should be noted. But I don’t drink beer often and had two Coors Lights to celebrate our faux national birthday, and came up with these 20 in about 20 minutes which is pretty good.
So, happy birthday U.S.A., even if the date seems wrong. And blog fans, what are some quick things you love about the U.S.A.?