I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and of the degree of the arcades' curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past...A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira's past. -Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Monday, July 04, 2005

Patriotism and Independence Day

Well I guess this one is happy Independence Day, for those of us in the United States and anyone living where they themselves would consider themselves to be free—I won’t presume to make that determination for others.

While I am not always happy with my government, or even some of my fellow countrymen and women, I am happy to be an American and do consider myself a patriot, in that I am proud of where I live, and the principles of our country. I don’t consider the definition of patriotism to be blind allegiance to one’s government—only a love of one’s homeland and a desire for it to be the best place it can be.

I have had the opportunity to live, work, and travel in many other countries and plan to continue to do so throughout my life. There are so many good things (and of course bad) everywhere I have been, yet I have never had a desire to permanently leave the US—perhaps simply because it is home. And I do consider myself lucky to have the freedoms that I do. There are so many places where my gender, religion, or political views would place many constraints on what I could do. I have never felt myself constrained and I know I am fortunate that I don’t fully comprehend what it means to be so constrained. I also know that not everyone in the US would be able to agree with the comments I have just made on my own behalf…but part of caring for my country is striving to help make it a place where everyone truly has the same freedoms.

1 comment:

Anand V. Chhatpar said...

[There are so many places where my gender, religion, or political views would place many constraints on what I could do.]

Its true that cultural constraints in India give you less freedom than in the U.S., but I have never seen them as something that was imposed on me. I think the constraints are seen as little things you do to express respect for each other, and for tradition. If I had never had the chance to live in the U.S., I would considered those "constraints" as being perfectly normal.

Indeed, being able to live in more than one country is a great advantage for the knowledge-gatherer.

- Anand.