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Archive for July 4th, 2017

Really busy today, getting ready for my upcoming show. Like so many working Americans, there is no holiday for me today. But I wanted to run a redone post from several years back. It tries to get across my thought that the strength of America is not as a place but as an idea.

Jasper Johns “Flag”

Another Fourth of July.

Parades. Picnics. Fireworks. Red, white and blue. That’s the shorthand version of this day. The actual meaning of this day is much harder to capture, probably more so for Americans than for those from other countries who view us from a distance. I think we sometimes lose sight of the idea and ideal of America in our day to day struggle to maintain our own lives. But even that struggle is symptomatic of the basis for our nation, a constant reminder that anything worth preserving requires work and maintenance.

For me, America is not a static thing, a credo written in granite that will always be there.  It is vaporous and ever changing, like a dense fog. What seems to be there one moment is something completely different in the next. But it is an inviting fog, one that is warm on the skin and invites you in with hazy promises of possibility.

And maybe that is what America really represents– possibility.

Maybe it is the sheer possibility of a better and safer life, the potential of remaking one’s self, that defines our ideal America. We are at our best when we are open and inviting, offering our opportunity and empathy to all . When we understand that America is by nature in a state of change. It has never been one thing for long.  We are a long way from our ideal when we close our doors and try to capture the vapor  that is  America all for ourselves.

It is not ours to hold– we only get to hold it for but a fleeting second and then it wafts away to some other fortunate with their hands out in acceptance of that gift.

Maybe this doesn’t make any sense.  Since it is such a hazy ideal, we all see it in different ways.  This is just how I see it.

Here’s the song America from Simon and Garfunkel.  This is not a flag waving , chest thumping anthem but it speaks as much to the thought of America as an idea in that simple chorus — all come to look for America— as the very best Sousa march. Plus, if you think that America is just a place, it has some of our most scenic landscapes to take in.

Have a good 4th.

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