Happy Birthday, America.

“The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land, took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him was the true founder of civil society. What crimes, wars, murders, what miseries and horrors would the human race have been spared, had some one pulled up the stakes or filled in the ditch and cried out to his fellow men: “Do not listen to this imposter. You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one!”

~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality

Countries are funny things. We delineate land by imaginary lines, or geographical boundaries, or cultural differences, or languages spoken. We fight over sovereignty, religion, ideology. The history of the world is a fascinating read. From Pangaea to modern day, we have evolved…on certain levels…debatably, but at least biologically speaking.

As a Political Science and History (primarily European) major in college,  I focused my interest on political theory, i.e. how societies are born, how they behave, how they evolve and function, and why they may fail, and the processes behind the structures of social contracts and types of governments. I could write papers to the end of time and argue my points with flare and passion. I intended to take that passion to law school (human rights law), even studying for the LSAT, but well…life. It is still a large part of who I am, and how I view the world. My idea of fun as a kid: watching the nightly news with my father when he came home from work and asking him a million questions about why humans treat each other the way we do. I am perpetually intrigued by humanity…the good, the bad, the ugly.

But, underneath all of that drive to understand, there is always a part of me that respects the idea of what the United States strives to stand for, albeit rife with its own hypocrisies and failures at home and abroad, not to mention the displacement of native peoples. It is the controversial truth about how countries are born. But born we were. And imperfect we are. We do, however, live in a country where we have freedoms that are not guaranteed in many parts of the world, and for that, I try to remind myself how grateful I am.

I have deep respect for those willing to fight to the death for what they believe in, granted it’s the good stuff like freedom.  And this country is nothing if not supported in its foundation by those who sacrifice their lives for the greater good.  World peace is a noble goal, and one worth striving for. As a realist, I know it is a lofty one.  It is unfortunate that we have conflicts and war, and if there are any viable options before a gun is drawn, they should be taken. We all have our opinions about US diplomacy. I’m not here to argue that. The amazing thing about this country is that we can speak our minds, we can disagree, we can write blogs and we have access to information and in many but not all cases, education (think about North Korea for one moment). But, I won’t fault those who take an oath to stand for something greater than themselves. They deserve the government’s full support, and the people’s respect.  Ask yourself if you could do what they do…

On my trip to NY in April, I was treated to many kinds of political science and history porn…for this girl anyway.  I will leave you with pictures of what blew my mind, regardless of your opinion about this country…its willpower and resilience cannot be underestimated.

Rousseau was right…the earth belongs to all, and while we rely on social contracts to keep order, it doesn’t always work, but it is how humans have organized what would be utter chaos, although, chaos exists either way…it is the only order of the universe, inherent entropy, the breakdown of all things over time. Here’s hoping we can at least agree someday that in order for us to maximize our existence, to survive and not destroy the planet and each other, we have to find ways to co-exist. It could take a long while. But, that’s history for you.

Happy Fourth of July, friends.

IMG_0580

This flag hangs in the 9/11 Memorial Museum and was on a facade across from the World Trade Center the day of the attacks. It was tattered badly. Recovered during clean-up, it was sent around the country and patched back together by parts of other decommissioned flags from all 50 states. This one hit my heart…

 

IMG_8737

THE eagle, people. I saw it with my own eyes. Read the description below:

IMG_8738

 

IMG_8753

George Washington crossing the Delaware in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

IMG_8325

New York Stock Exchange…the motor of our world’s economy whether we like it or not.

 

IMG_8497

The Wall Street Bull

IMG_8317

Federal Hall on Wall Street where George Washington took the oath of office for President of the United States

IMG_8320

 

IMG_0566

Destroyed fire truck in the 9/11 Memorial Museum…

IMG_0568IMG_8500

Brooklyn Bridge, a marvel of labor and engineering and lives lost in the creation of something bigger during the birth of a country.

IMG_9840

The Survivor Tree at the 9/11 Memorial.  This tree was buried under rubble but survived, a testament to the survivors and the resilience of this country to pick up and rebuild.

IMG_9886

Inside Federal Hall, Wall Street

IMG_9892

A bank vault inside Federal Hall, Wall Street

IMG_9896

THE stone that George Washington stood on when swearing in as President. Yeah, history orgasm for me to see this with my own eyes. I just stumbled upon it, and no one was there, so I could hardly believe my eyes.

IMG_0136IMG_0158IMG_0162

IMG_0205

Ellis Island…a fascinating history lesson in immigration. The stories will tear at your heart.

IMG_0292

Registration rooms of Ellis Island…beautiful windows and views.

IMG_0300

View from Ellis Island to Statue of Liberty

 

IMG_0302

 

IMG_0322

Registration atrium of Ellis Island. Impressive building all around.

Advertisements

30 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, America.

  1. Hi Em,

    Nice post! One thing that really caught my attention was your statement about social contracts, particularly in light of Brexit. If the European Union ultimately becomes an economic and political success which means they knit the economies together enough to suppress the wars that used to plagued that continent, then we may see more economic contracts being created between other countries that may supersede the social ones constructed by countries. I wanna say multinational economic treaties are the first steps, but I’m unsure of that being a definite marker. This line of thinking reaches back to reference the Rousseau statement. Will we become undone if our order becomes supported by economic contracts and not social ones?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very thorough thinking, M! And one that I’m sure political scientists are pondering in depth at this very moment. I don’t have the answers, but I imagine that a truly global economic union would be tricky given the variety of infrastructure and resources each part of the world offers and their governments. But, smaller ones like the EU can work given their somewhat centralized location. Maybe other areas will follow suit and there could be several, but for instance…it could be catastrophic in some cases like if we were to try and create an economic contract with certain countries. Canada is one thing. But, Central and South America would be another. Fascinating to theorize, though! Remind me your area of study? Was it science?

      Like

      1. Ah! That’s right. Well, you have to theorize there, too. And mine was Political Science which is kind of funny to think of being science, but in some ways, it is. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a fascinating piece. Loved getting that insight into you and something your clearly passionate about.
    I know we’re so used to poetry from you but you write so eloquently I’d be interested in reading essays. Maybe that’s just me looking to learn more but yours is a voice I could easily listen to.
    Hope you’ve had a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, Cameron! I do like to write. I used to journal much more. But now I know you enjoy it, I’ll maybe throw in a few more here and there. 🙏🏼😊💜 Just crashing Fourth of July parties right now. And ready to head home soon. Maybe I’ll write about my amazing night. 🎆

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure we’d all be very interested to hear about your party jumping!
        I do like a good journal piece especially when it’s so full of heart and a knowledge of the subject.
        Enjoy the rest of your amazing night!

        Liked by 1 person

Speak Your Heart...

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s