This is one of the first Independence Days I've spent without children. For the past two years, my youngest was home and we grilled some poor animal and had festive side dishes and watched fireworks. A couple of years ago, we slogged into Moraga, CA, and while he and his girlfriend sat on top of the high school roof, Michael and I hunkered on a hill. They were pretty darn good fireworks, too, and then we all went home. Yay, America!
Lat year, Michael's daughter and friend joined us, and the day was remarkable mostly because Michael's daughter managed to eat a rack of ribs about as big as she is. Yay, America!
I do like living here, but living anywhere is kind of difficult, I imagine. The United States of America has been good to me--as a woman born when I was born, I've been able to do much of what I've wanted. I was born into a socio-economic group that allowed for upward mobility and everyone born into it used the system. We have professional degrees, good jobs, homes. Our children will likely not be as mobile. In fact, I know it's so. A BA degree these days isn't' much, at all, and my friends' children all seem to have gone on to much more education for less than what their parents have.
And in terms of the politics, it's hard to love anything about America these days. The environment? Hard to love America. Child welfare? Education? Fuel, in all senses we can think about it? Impossible. Immigration? Treatment of indigenous peoples? Cough, cough. Treatment of people not from here? Raise the big, red flag.
But there are a lot of things I do love. I do love that I can move anywhere in this country that I want to. This is one enormous country, and if I want to go live in Key West or Bangor or San Diego or Seattle, I can.
I love that there are now laws that allow women to be treated mostly as equals, though we aren't quite there. Maybe in my lifetime. However, I feel pretty good about being a woman here as opposed to, say, Iraq or Afghanistan or even Japan or South Korea. My students tell me a great deal about the roles of women elsewhere, and I'm happy to be here.
But I'm not going anywhere. I haven't in 46 years, at least on a permanent basis. I like the San Francisco Bay Area. I like that we are forward thinking people. I like that we create a lot of the change the world needs to see. Gay rights? Gay marriage? Environmental practices? Local eating? Good food that is good for you? Yes, we have traffic issues, and other, often huge, systemic problems, but I like us here. Mostly, the people make me happy.
And the weather isn't bad, either.
So no roasted animal today for me. No youngest son. Just a nice lunch, a workout, and a lovely, amazing margarita that only Michael can make! I raise a small salute to the parts of this country I appreciate, mostly right where I am.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org