So today is American Independence Day, a splendid holiday in my opinion. To celebrate the greatness that is our country, we get to eat tons of food, drink cold beverages, and shoot off all kinds of explosive devices (some legal, some not). If you’re especially lucky, you get to eat my mom’s pulled pork and Mississippi Mud. What could be better?
While I guess I’m not especially lucky this year, I’m not too bad off, as we’re actually hanging out with a college friend in Siem Reap, and attending a Fourth of July party with her. There will be food, drinks, and fun, but I’m not so sure about fireworks. So I guess I need you to shoot off a few extra Roman candles for me. And while you send explosives into the sky and try to avoid singing off your eyebrows or burning down your neighbor’s house, take a minute to reflect on all the things that you probably take for granted, but which trust me, should make you feel lucky that you live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. For instance:
*Western-style toilets–a throne with a seat, water in the bowl, a flushing mechanism that doesn’t require buckets of water, and toilet paper (that can be thrown into the toilet!).
*The right to wear whatever you want, even if I think you probably shouldn’t.
*Cheese in its many delicious incarnations.
*The right to make your opinion heard without fear that you could end up dead or “disappeared”.
*Laws that require your parents to send you to school rather than send you out on the streets to sell postcards, bracelets, or even worse, yourself.
*Tex-Mex food. Barbecue. Summer evening cookouts.
*The right to choose your own partner (even if, unfortunately, not all Americans are given the right marry them) and to decide whether or not you’ll have children and how many you’ll have.
*Drinkable water straight from the tap.
*A culture that believes women are as valuable as men, that the color of your skin doesn’t dictate what you can or cannot do, and that anyone can grow up to be President.
Now go celebrate the USA and set the sky (and nothing else, please) on fire! Happy 4th of July!