i guess i’m not the most patriotic person in the world. some days i feel privileged to be born in the USA. i vote, as farcical as it seems sometimes. often, i get fed up with this country. but where, honestly, is there to go? most places involving humans feature war, disease, economic crisis, injustice, bureaucracy, pollution, disasters, or you name it. sounds familiar. makes me feel more global, i guess.we as a nation have chosen, for whatever reasons, not to prioritize space exploration, so here we are, stuck with each other and all our cross-purposes. most of us don’t have the luxury or option to move to a better situation. the so-called american dream is just that, based on an illusion. this county was built on a foundation of persecution, genocide, slavery, racism, corruption, and greed. (i said i was cynical.) we feel the impact of that history around us every day. some americans continue to promote it, or simply perpetuate it through ignorance. many of us just live with it, and try to survive. a few rise above it and try to change the future. this country makes it extremely challenging to go against the mainstream, but it’s still possible and even in some cases legal. here and there are pockets of individuals who cooperate to move toward a more sane, sustainable lifestyle. maybe not so paradoxically, their independent mindset and quest for liberty sometimes require that they work together interdependently and communally, a trait not that encouraged in our system anymore. this whole country is about independence on every level. you must grow up to be independent. you must be mobile and move far away from extended family and friends. you must make it as an individual or family on your own. you must not depend on anyone. you must not get too emotionally dependent. you must be successful and compete. maybe some ‘teamwork’ comes into play, but just as a strategy to get ahead and beat the other ‘team’. you must not rely on safety nets. if misfortune hits, you’re just screwed. and above all, you outlive your ‘quality of life’ at your own risk. autonomy, self-sufficiency, self-reliance— great in theory, but in our society these qualities can be synonymous with self-respect and self-control. g-d help you if the inevitable misfortune or catastrophic event diminishes your ability to live and function independently. either way—having to depend on others for basic needs, or having to give up your own autonomy to go take care of others—is something we dread and avoid. we may even feel shame and a sense of failure. our culture discourages us from living a life that takes into account and incorporates all phases of human life, transition, and death. if you’re too young, you’re screwed. if you’re too old, you’re screwed. if you’re in-between and screwed by reality, tough luck. you’re on your own. literally. since i’m supposedly ranting to myself, i’m not too concerned with what this must sound like. i sat down this morning to ask myself what if anything i had to say about independence day. i guess i feel like the 4th of july has become just another american commercial enterprise, like christmas, only fewer employees get a day off. if they’re employed in the first place. sometimes we forget what it is we’re supposed to be celebrating. so i thought about what independence means to me, and off i went! if nothing else, it’s the freedom to rant about it online, while drinking a beer. can’t knock that. now the 5th of july is a much more significant day in personal history. but i won’t repeat myself (see previous post). i choose to celebrate that day. i hope its hero will, too. here’s to life and no regrets! and martinis on airships!