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04 July 2007

Celebrate INTERdependence Day

Flag"The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you: they are unique manifestations of the human spirit." - Wade Davis

Perhaps today's national celebration of independence in the U.S. should evolve into a celebration of a new kind of consciousness--one that recognizes the interdependence of everyone on the planet. Many thanks to wonderful 37days reader Shelley for sending me a guide to celebrating Interdependence Day (PDF).

Some thoughts from that guide as we prepare for fireworks tonight:

"Today we mark the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a document that still inspires many Americans today. We're going to read the declaration aloud. As we do, listen for those ideas you find inspiring, resonant, or in some other way pertinent for our lives in twenty-first-century America."

"History books focus on the people who were in power as if all change comes from those in positions of authority. The truth is that ordinary citizens created much of what we love about America...At this celebration, let's give thanks for the ordinary and extraordinary Americans whose struggles brought about those changes. Let's give a toast:

  • To the waves of immigrants from all parts of the world who struggled to accept each other and find a place in this country.
  • To the escaped slaves and their allies, particularly Quakers, evangelical Christians, and freedom-loving secularists, who built the Underground Railroad and helped countless people to freedom.
  • To the African Americans and allies who went to prison, lost their livelihoods, and were savagely beaten in the struggle for civil rights.
  • To the women who risked family, job security, and their own constructed identities to shift our collective consciousness about men and women and raise awareness of the effects of patriarchy.
  • To all those who risk scorn and violence and often lost connection to their families to lead the struggle for the acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer people.
  • To those who continue to work for equal access for people with disabilities.
  • To all of the innovators and artists who have brought so much beauty and usefulness into our lives. (see the guide for more thoughts on who to recognize today)

"All that we celebrate today in America involved struggles to overcome entrenched ways of thinking.... Today we celebrate the moments when the United States and the American people have acted not only from self-interest but also from genuine caring... We are proud of our country. We love its physical beauty. Many of us come from immigrant families who found refuge here when there were few other societies on the planet that would welcome our ancestors. Let us once again commit to overcoming the fear of the other and cultivating a spirit of generosity and love toward the stranger."

"We know that there is a huge cultural and intellectual richness in the variety of cultures, religions, spiritual practices, music, literature, and shared wisdom of the societies that make up our world. On this Interdependence Day we not only commit to helping improve the material condition of the rest of the world, but also to learning from the rest of the world. We approach this task in a spirit of humility, aware that we in the United States have sometimes appeared to the rest of the world as a big bully and not as a society genuinely interested in sharing its cultural and spiritual heritages."

It turns out, we are not only independent, but interdependent. Perhaps this day provides a renewed opportunity to start acting like it? Happy Interdependence Day to you and yours. Some of us will stand vigil in an old Quaker meeting house today, others will freckle at the beach, still others will grill soy dogs and corn on the cob and make fantastical red and blue vegan jello creations that jiggle when we walk with them to the picnic table covered with a red-checkered cloth. However we do it, a simple nod to interconnectedness is in order, I'm thinking.


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Good stuff: a veritable "melting pot of ideas."

i'm going to celebrate my right to be pissed off about the Bush admin. , Libby, the lack of gay rights my friends experience, indigenous injustice, etc., etc., etc.
I am going to take my asthma meds that i ration out due to their ridiculous cost (the patent laws changed during the Clinton Cigar hype ya know).
I continue to volunteer and create art and poetry...
I continue to be a good liberal...

and today
I am going to enjoy my right to be angry
and not enjoy the gun shots and fireworks that make me hit the ground ( I am from Detroit after all)
and i hear
IMPEACH IMPEACH in my head- futile thought that it is.

"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism."
Erma Bombeck

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