Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day

1. It's been awhile since I posted, and with Mr. Mel working long hours to modernize communications in our fair country, I guess it's up to me.

2. I have become acquainted with a hardworking journalist in NOLA. This person informs me that Da Mayor is openly talking about his near future: either running for governor (it's a pride thing) or just quitting and moving to Dallas, which is where his wife and kids are. Apparently, if you want to know why he doesn't seem to be very responsive or even around much, it's because he spends a lot of time in Dallas.

3. I was telling some friends yesterday that when I lived in Missouri (for me, Misery) for three years, one thing I noticed was that the Fourth of July felt like a real holiday there. I felt the magic; it felt like America there and that I was among Americans.

Fourth of July here in NOLA feels a little like a pretend game we play, just to go along with the crowd. It's nice and all--I'm headed to Kenner shortly to spend some nice time with family, large amounts of smoked meat, and the smell of chlorine and Coppertone (I really do like that combo)--but it still feels a little like a foreign imposition. Hell, St. Patrick's Day and St. Joseph's Day feel more like real holidays here than does the Fourth of July. Am I weird? Or do others feel that too?

4. Still and all, I'm proud of many things about our country. When we get it right, our plain-spokenness, our celebration of individual flourishing, our respect for the different (yes, I know we screw that up a lot, but in the end, we are becoming more respectful and diverse as a nation, not less), and our history of great people like Thomas Jefferson, Emma Goldman, Martin Luther King, Walker Percy, and Deuce McAllister--all of this should make us proud.

Happy Fourth of July.

Hope I see you at the fireworks on the River tonight.

UPDATE: Cool Emma Goldman observation:

Conceit, arrogance and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. Let me illustrate. Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot consider themselves nobler, better, grander, more intelligent than those living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the
others.

The inhabitants of the other spots reason in like manner, of course, with the result that from early infancy the mind of the child is provided with blood-curdling stories about the Germans, the French, the Italians, Russians, etc. When the child has reached manhood he is thoroughly saturated with the belief that he is chosen by the Lord himself to defend his country against the attack or invasion of any foreigner. It is for that purpose that we are clamoring for a greater army and navy, more battleships and ammunition.

An army and navy represent the people's toys.

5 comments:

saintseester said...

Thanks for the well-wishes, man. We are doing better in our house today.

oyster said...

I feel the way you do about Independence Day here in N.O.. Doesn't quite have the same feel as other places.

bayoustjohndavid said...

Does the mayor look "wistful" when talks about his desire to join his wife in Dallas? Or is that the kind of thing that journalists love to type but can't quite say with a straight face? No knock on your acquaintance, but journalists seem to be unaware of the fact that it's almost de rigeur for certain types of politicians (e.g. the refreshingly, but sometimes embarrassingly, candid politician who isn't really a politician) to express a desire to return to private life. Even the big boys in Washington fall for that b.s. all the time. The 2000 election in which Bush was presented as the psychologically healthier candidate because he'd be perfectly happy to spend the rest of his life in Crawford comes to mind.

That said, the only reasons I can see for Nagin to seek statewide office is to stroke his ego and enhance his stature as a black leader. Governor almost certainly appeals to him because he sees how popular Foster was as a do-nothing governor, but he knows he can't win statewide office. I can't see him running for Jefferson's seat because congressman have busy work schedules, they have to travel too much between their district and Washington to do all the traveling that Nagin likes to do and congressmen need to actually be responsive to their constituents.

LatinTeacher said...

I, too, feel like the Fourth of July is not really my holiday. Just spent this one in Boston where the partying was taken very seriously. I don't know why we don't feel Independence (or Memorial) Day to be important as some other holidays.
What are you doing for Bastille Day?

Anonymous said...

You can't seriously believe "the mayor is in Dallas", can you? Or with his wife and kids?

Either your journalist friend is pulling your leg, or he/she's a bit naive.