The parallel problems of a woman with Authority issues.
I should probably warn you right of the bat that it is likely I will offend anyone who is very patriotic. That's what I do though, stick my foot in my mouth, and this pair of relationships really DOES have a lot in common, so there you have it.
I'm a bad patriot. And a bad daughter.
You see, I don't like to be told what to do. I sort of live my life more along the lines of the Hippocratic oath than any following of laws, per se. Just because it is the rule, is JUST not good enough. I admit most rules are rules to avoid people getting hurt (those I follow) or to help us coordinate with each other (those are mostly okay), but the 'it's the law' never flew with me.
I am of the belief that world empirical domination of nations have about a century per country to run their course. The Dutch had the 1600s. The British the 1700s. The French the 1800s.... and the USA the 1900s. But you see, in the few decades of 'no longer able to make everybody bend at our feet' ALL these countries have behaved badly for a while. It is currently the US's turn.
This is not to excuse it. Just to point out that I think it is the natural course of events. So there are A LOT OF PEOPLE in the US trying to 'go back' to some (mythical, I might add) good old days, and trying to force other nations to RECOGNIZE our superiority, which frankly, we just don't have anymore.
But a girl isn't supposed to criticize her mother... I promise at the end I will try to make some amends. How's that?
But first I want to go through some of the trouble, where I am concerned...
(what she says/what she really means)
“I want you to have choices!” (to work or stay home)/but under no circumstances are you to allow your partner those choices—HIS only option should be to work. Choice is for you alone.
“You can't count on somebody else taking care of you—you need skills.”/And nobody should count on YOU either. Only inferior people can't take care of themselves financially.
“You are such a strong, independent woman.”/But I'm too sensitive for that, so don't inflict any of that strength on ME.
(about a woman we know who forgave a cheating husband) “She is so forgiving, amazing really. I don't know if I could have done that.”/because forgiveness is something we TALK about being good, but really that just isn't what we DO. It's all well and good in theory, but it lets people off the hook.
“Individualism and an entrepreneurial spirit are what made this country great”/but now that we're great already, it is time for everybody to fall into line.
“We are the world's melting pot.”/but the fondue is ready and we've started eating, so don't put anything ELSE in there! Anyone to arrive after world war II really is just unable to contribute, unless of course they are willing to work under the table for less than minimum wage in dangerous conditions—in THAT CASE it's just good for Capitalism.
“We have Separation of Church and State.”/but of course presume everyone is Christian, so it doesn't matter anyway... unless someone tries to do something that some small subset of this group finds offensive! THEN YOUR BUSINESS IS OUR BUSINESS!
Compounded by Daddy Issues
My dad was mostly a great big kid. He was too loud. He drank too much. (funny, some people say those things about me). He was macho, and he was reckless. MOSTLY, because he was also good-natured, he was also just pretty fun, instead of scary. But you know what you DON'T want to do with a macho, reckless guy who drinks too much? Encourage him to play with explosives. The fourth of July, with my macho (need I say Patriotic—that is PART of macho in my world—or maybe the problem REALLY is that I see MACHO as part of Patriotic, and macho is not my favorite feature), reckless, drunk dad and his EXPLOSIVES was the only time he really SCARED ME.
We usually spent the fourth at my grandparents' lake cabin, located on an Indian Reservation in northen Idaho—reservations mean two things among the macho... no TAX on alcohol and cigarettes, and no LIMITS on what is legal for fireworks. This addition of explosives divided family and friends solidly into two camps. The safe, sane (boring) camp, and the reckless, drunken, blowing-shit-up camp. Explosions from one team. Shrieks from the other... usually for an entire three day weekend. And when I was a KID, I loved it.
It is currently however, tied in my mind to 1976—US Bicentennial. The fourth happened six days before my dad died driving drunk—too fast on a gravel road—and somehow the sound track for me of that memory, is the weekend of the fourth of July.
Oh, I'm mostly over it. My husband and some neighbors do a group fireworks thing in our street, and I love sitting out in the front yard—talking to neighbors, catching fireflies, drinking cocktails. I may drink too much, but I am NEVER the one blowing stuff up, and I ALWAYS plea for 'pretty lights' instead of explosions. But the fourth is STILL not my favorite holiday.
I really probably need to work through the same stuff with mom and country I have with my dad... seeing the flaws, but ALSO being willing to see the good. There is good. I just have often resisted seeing it. Maybe that is what I should work on this year...
The US has AMAZING and varied geography, a fabulous collection of cultures, enough resources that a good portion of our population has a ton of opportunity (even if it bothers me that those opportunities are unfairly distributed).
And my MOM, gave me a great foundation—a belief I could do ANYTHING I wanted to do—hard work and determination were the only limiting factors. My confidence, my work ethic, my unwillingness to give up—those are from my mom. Not bad, as legacies go.
I need to work on that acceptance thing... the forgiveness I accuse my mom of not having... few things improve if we wait for everybody else to change first.
and so I don't leave you thinking I have no patriotic spirit, please enjoy the following...
Muppet Independence Day Tribute