Happy Birthday, my fellow Americans! Whether we agree on politics, religion, civil rights, equality, war, and the myriad of issues we have the good fortune to be able to FREELY agree/disagree upon within our borders, today WE ALL SHARE our country’s birth, so let’s toss back a cold one, remember our history, improve our present, look forward to our future, and blow out some candles.
Three years ago Candye Kane allowed me to post a great commentary she’d written on what being an American means to her, so I thought I’d share it again for those of you who hadn’t read it, and as a great reread for those who already had. Enjoy!
Last night I read an incredible, thought-provoking, straight-from-the-heart blog entry by Candye Kane and just knew I had to share it with all of you this 4th of July. I immediately sent off an email asking for her permission to repost it here and was very pleased when she graciously responded with permission to do so. The thoughts she shares, the feelings she expresses, and the desires she has, are those which I hope speak to as many of you as they did to me. As much as I abhor this current administration and the horrific choices GWB and his right-wing, closed-minded, power-hungry cronies have made, I DO love my country and all that it CAN be. I think Candye has put into words the hopes and dreams we would all like to see come true.
And for those of you who haven’t heard of Candye Kane, tsk-tsk-tsk. Okay, I’ll cut you a little bit of slack since she’s a local talent I’ve had the good fortune of knowing about for some time, but Candye’s reach goes far beyond her SoCal background with worldwide fans of her distinctive, enjoying-the-heck-out-of-life persona and musical abilities. I HIGHLY advise you to click on her MySpace page, hit up her web site, catch her on her current “Guitar’d and Feathered” tour, Google her if you’d like, then hightail it over to iTunes, Amazon.com, or Ruf Records, and buy, buy, BUY all the Candye Kane music you can afford! I’ve got “White Trash Girl” playing on the computer right now and am enjoying the heck out of Candye’s powerful voice, the fun lyrics (track #13…enough said! ;)), and the energized mood her music puts me in. It’s admittedly hard to actually sit still at the computer to type this out when her music is infusing my body with the desire to get up and dance around!
Candye’s life story is one I think even the most imaginative of authors would have a hard time coming up with, and her music can’t really be pigeonholed into any one category, so check her out for yourself. You can thank me later! 😉 Happy and safe 4th of July, everyone!
Here’s her fantastic blog entry, reprinted with her permission. Thanks, Candye!
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Happy no more war, light up the smog free sky w/fireworks 4th!
Tomorrow is the Fourth of July and I am here in Lincoln, Nebraska. This is corn field country where people actually stop for you when you get a flat tire, drive you through the Mcdonalds on the way to pick up the new tire, pay for lunch and then insist on changing your tire for you on the side of the freeway while the whole band stands aghast, watching. (This actually happened!) This is plain-spoken people country where they look you in the eye, with a firm handshake that they mean, and do what they say they will do. This is the heartland part of the US where young boys and girls go off to war because they really believe in our Grandparents vision of a democratic, honest country that would never condone torture. This is the part of the country where young soldiers go off to war not only because they want to see the world and get a shot at a good education but because they were brought up to respect the flag and the people whose blood spilt for it.
I am not a real patriot. There are a lot of problems in this great country of ours. We are stuck in the quagmire of this losing war in Iraq; we will leave our huge deficit to our kids and grandkids; The President has an imaginary friend who gives him advice (that, or he hears voices in his head.) Our government seems to virtually ignore global warming and is so gluttonous from the big money they get from oil lobbies that they spend zip on research for new energy resources. They would rather worry about keeping hard working Mexicans out of the USA and worry about whether two men might choose to marry and live in a committed relationship. The health insurance problem is vast, not only because we poor people have to choose between paying our phone bill or getting a check up, but because a woman of my size can be denied health insurance even with low blood pressure and low cholesterol, just based on my weight. Yes, it’s a mess here, my friends.
Still, I am happy to be an American. Why? Because in my neighborhood growing up, there were black people, Mexicans and white kids. There were Catholics, Jews and Mormons. (I have been all three!) We didn’t all agree about everything and we spent a lot of time fighting with each other but I learned early that people come in all sizes and colors. Here in America, there are mosques and churches of all kinds, synagogues and Krishna temples. There is Eckankar and Paganism, self-realization and even the dreaded scientology. There are women who walk around in cut offs and halter-tops, butches with beards and rings in their noses, women wearing Islamic head coverings and Amish dresses and bonnets at the same rest stop. There are hookers who hang out on my street and sell their wares to men who drive by in their souped up Toyotas with their stereo so loud it makes my I,U.D. vibrate. There are surfer boys, retired Marines, lesbians, Jehovahs witnesses, Rastafarians and Samoan Christians all on the block where I live.
I love America because my government sucks, but I have the right to write about it and talk about it and write letters to my congressperson and my local paper. I have the right to protest and hold up signs and yell and scream at rallies. I don’t have every right that I should have. I should have the right to marry whomever I want and I should have the right to be treated the same way under the law as any married couple, heterosexual or otherwise. Poor people and regular folks should have the right to run for office and it shouldn’t be about money. But I still believe in an America that will eventually try to right its wrongs. (Not the ones that can’t be righted; we can’t bring back the buffalo or give the Native Americans back all their land. We can’t take back our historic mistakes like slavery, refusing shiploads of Jewish children and women during WW II and Japanese interment camps. Some wrongs are so horrific they cannot be reversed or fixed.)
However, just like women fought for the right to vote, and people fought in the 60’s for freedom and civil liberties for every American regardless of skin color, I believe someday we will get back to the noble American ideals of our forefathers and mothers. The America that our Grandparents loved and fought for; The America that valued honor and believed diversity made a country stronger just like the statue of liberty inscription said. An America that really does take care of its poor and its meek and huddled masses; An America that doesn’t just fill us with fear while lining their pockets but cares about each citizen, poor and rich, gay and straight and strives to protect each of us. That’s the America that I am reminded of when I am here with the good people of the Midwest.
There are good and bad people in every city in the world and I am not naïve enough to think otherwise. But I want to be the kind of American who helps my neighbor fix a flat and pays for lunch while doing it. I want to be the American that holds out a hand to someone who is suffering. I want to get my childhood vision back of an America that was good and noble, honest and true. A country where your vote counted and you didn’t just have to vote for the evil guy or the other evil guy. A country where we would never hold people in prisons without due process or overthrow the Geneva Convention as antiquated and out of date. I believe in an America that is compassionate and cares about our planet and all its inhabitants, realizing that we are all one in the great cosmic universe. So, when I sing that National anthem tonight at my show in Lincoln, I will envision that America and these salt of the earth American kids who are dying to defend her. I will envision us all as one human family protecting and caring about each other in a pollution free, peaceful world with polar bears and hybrid cars and health insurance affordable to us all!
Happy no more war, light up the smog free sky with fireworks 4th of July!