04 July 2012

purple mountain majesties.

happy birthday, america!

i don't believe in patriotism. you have no control over where you are born, so it makes no sense to me to be proud of it. you can like your country of origin. you can be proud of how where you have lived has made you into the person you are today. but to have this unwavering, my-country-can-do-no-wrong-and-is-blessed-and-promised-above-all-other-countries sort of loyalty is dangerous. it leads to things like nationalism. which is a symptom of fascism. and the basis of imperialism. really bad stuff.

anyway. i'm not a patriot. i love america's story -- how she got started. i think the story of the american revolution is beautiful. i'm a romantic. i like stories where the underdog overthrows the nasty imperial powers placed upon her. then america became the biggest imperial power in the history of the world, because the us dollar rules the world economy...but, the humble beginnings story? sweet. brings tears to my eyes, sometimes.

i love the ideals america was built upon -- namely, the first amendment (freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly, and petitioning the government for a redress of grievances) and equal representation under the law. when july 4th comes around, each year, it is those ideals i celebrate.

so, in celebration, i have put together a Happy Birthday, America! playlist. :) hooray. here it be:

1812 overture -- tchaikovsky (they play this in washington d.c. as the fireworks go off behind the washington monument. powerful spectacle.)

fanfare for the common man -- aaron copland (pretty powerful piece of music. american composer. this is what people think america is supposed to be. the place where the "common" man may thrive...i hope that some day, that will be true.)  

rhapsody in blue -- george gershwin (american composer. snapshot of new york in the 1920s...one of my favorite eras. also the best scene in fantasia 2000.)  

stars and stripes forever -- john philip sousa (the great american composer of marches. played by marching bands across the country, on this day, every year.)  

america the beautiful -- ray charles (i love ray. this is my favorite rendition of this song. which is my favorite "patriotic" song.)

what a wonderful world -- louis armstrong (just seems appropriate to end with a global perspective.)

and...there you have it. happy birthday, america. here's to a celebration filled with pyrotechnics, good music, and barbecues! :)

bye for now.

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