Happy Birthday, America!

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As the daughter of immigrants (I’ve got you already, don’t I?), I’d like to take a minute today, on America’s birthday, and reflect on what makes America so grand. And before any of you accuse me of being facetious, let me tell you…I may be a left-leaning, “Democracy Now”-listening ex-hipster who screams obscenities at W. when he appears on television, but I love this country. So there.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the mess we’re in, about the fact that our economy is sucking it and people are selling plasma for gas and we’re in a war we can’t get out of. Yes, that’s true. That’s all true.

But I still love America.

America makes it possible to eat McDonald’s French Fries at two in the morning while idling in your Chevy listening to Bob Seger. America makes it possible for a person to become a superstar, lose that superstardom, and then earn it back again, only this time we love you even more. America makes it possible to drink Budweiser with Tex-Mex in the afternoon and Heineken with Italian in the evening.

America made it possible to make ridiculous movies and post them on YouTube. America makes it possible to become a superstar because of YouTube. America makes it possible to sue people because you don’t like what they posted about you on YouTube.

America makes it possible to drive on big, steamy freeways to swamps and backwoods and crowded cities and little beach towns and desert badlands. You waste gas and pollute the air, but you go to these wonderful places. And you love them and you go there and they’re all America.

America made it possible for “Hollywood Squares.” And “$25,000 Pyramid.” And “Press Your Luck.” Sometimes, I think America made good luck in general.

America makes Bob Dylan possible. And Paris Hilton, too. And they’re both American.

America made frat boys and hair metal and upper-middle-class suburban punks and jazz and hip hop and the big white Hollywood sign and the Lincoln Tunnel and the Seven Mile Bridge that spans over the blue, blue water of America and leads to the house where Ernest Hemingway lived, who was American and wrote quintessentially American stories, even if he did live in Paris for part of the time.

I could write twenty blog posts about what’s bad about America, yeah, sure. But for right now, for today, I wanted to write something else. I wanted to write about reruns of “Good Times.” Broadway. MTV. Possibility. Lake Michigan at sunset. Venice Beach at dawn. Self-aggrandizing. Self-romanticizing. Johnny Cash. Miss USA. Big egos. Big chances.

I got big love for you, America. – Jennifer Mathieu

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