On July 2, 1776, 13 colonies declared themselves a new nation and voted for independence from all things British.
I guess that’s something to celebrate.
How independent can someone or a nation be? Even after we declared our separateness from the British empire our country was still full of pale people with British accents, believing in British laws and praying to British gods. Settlers used their British recipes and even continued to wear their silly-looking but ominous British powdered wigs in the courtroom.
After 241 years in the melting pot the view from the top our our nation’s governance is still pale, cultured, religious and righteous. Just like Great Britain.
We still speak the King’s English. There’s a Texas-American version of English which is pretty amusing. Listen closesly. Txans are all over Colorado.
When you visit England the native tongue sounds fair and right. Maybe it’s because I’m of English descent but to hear English spoken by proper English people is to hear it sung as God intended.
In 1776, during the glory of victory and the signing of the independence declaration John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail. The passage is quoted on Wikipedia.
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
Pomp and parade? Solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty? Illuminations? For this time forward forever more? That sounds as British as it gets. Independence? Hardly. I suppose it’s a nice and comforting and patriotic thought.
Nationalism can only take you so far before the edge gets too close and you fall off into the depths of ignorance. All nations are connected, as are all things and all people. Six degrees of separation? There is no separation from what I can see.
That’s why we should also celebrate “in-dependence day.” Every day is in-dependence day.
This country would not be what it is right now if not for the British. We fought a dirty war with the Redcoats and they were expunged. But we never got rid of them because we are them.
Individuals are living in a state of in-dependence, too. Individual independence is something to aim for but ultimately impossible and silly. Yes, a child can move out of the house and live independently of the parents. But that child is a direct consequence of those parents and she can never escape them because she is them.
Individual independence can be rebuffed on any level. An individual is a sum of parts, most of which must function in harmony for the individual to continue. Even the gut bacteria that depend on us to survive function in ways that allow individuals to survive (even while putting a whole lot of poison down the gullet).
Pizza? Gut bacteria. Wine? Gut bacteria. Steak? Can’t have it without that gut bacteria. You can’t live without it. We are all dependent on our gut bacteria. Ice cream?
As soon as you start looking under the hood of nature, physics and art you realize that you can’t have one thing without a whole lot of other things lining up. That tree would not be growing if not for the seed, the water, the soil, the sun, the air, etc. And of course the seed would never make it without the tree from which it fell and all the other things that went into that.
Just like that tree depends on this or that temperature, the sun and the air, circumstances, causes and conditions, we too need a combination of these things just to exist. All over the planet we share the same atmosphere, ecosystem, evolutions and everything important.
There is no separateness. That’s why an affront to any piece of the puzzle is an affront to us all.
If disease rises in a distant land it could connect here next.
If a distant factory spews pollution into the air it will impact the polar ice caps and the Colorado headwaters snowpack. Despite spring’s swollen rivers and high elevation snowpack it’s drying up again and there’s not much moisture on the horizon.
If someone drops a cigarette butt out of the window we could all suffer the consequences.
Happy in-dependence day.
Steve Skinner depends on you. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.