G-d mend thine ev’ry flaw

As I fished around for something to say this July 4th, looking at the panoply of song and poetry and oratory that I associate with American independence, American culture, and this day, I found myself crying.

By the rude bridge that arched the flood.

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame / Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name / MOTHER OF EXILES.

We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

No more kings.

Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else.

Have not our weary feet / Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?

But also:

This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mineYou may rejoice, I must mourn.

And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever[.]

Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace ­ but there is no peace.

He is sifting out the hearts of men before the judgment seat.

The sob that pushed its way out is relieving. The sob for Philando Castile and for the four friends and friends of friends who have been deported since January 27. The sob for other friends, the ones I’ve lost, who have decided that all Muslims or an arbitrary selection of Muslims need to be kept out of the United States and for the ones who are cheering the destruction of the environment and the passage of discriminatory laws. The sob for the Syrian refugees who have died needlessly when they could have been with us, safe.

The sob for the Supreme Court, for the Constitution.

But it’s not cathartic. I find no comfort in it, I am not reconciled with my society and its values afterwards. When did “The Star Spangled Banner” start to sound threatening? Probably long ago. Why am I only noticing now? Someone — in a bizarre echo of the 1960s — told me at my uncle’s birthday party that if I have that many problems with the U.S. I should live someplace else and though I know why I live where I live, it’s a question I’ve asked myself this year, too.

I suppose that’s the big triumph of the current government’s propaganda machine: it makes even someone like me — family in the US for well over 150 years — feel like I don’t belong. But my values are not your values. Try and throw me out: I dare you.

America’s not America until it’s America for all of us. How long?

~ by Servetus on July 5, 2017.

18 Responses to “G-d mend thine ev’ry flaw”

  1. I wish I knew what to say. Just accept my hug and my friendship. These are very trying times.

  2. Sorry about the smart*ss reply. I actually loved this post. Its good to know that others feel the same way. I never liked our former governor, Rick Perry, but he did describe Austin as being a blueberry in the middle of a tomato salad. Thats how I feel amongst my family, my friends, my hometown.

    • Thanks. I needed the laugh, badly.

      Rick Perry. Uch. The bad words I have to describe him, I cannot even type them without blushing.

  3. Danke für den Post und lass Dich nicht unterkriegen! hugs

    Bezüglich des letzten Links über “values”: ich hoffe Dir ist bewusst, dass Du es gerade mit einer Satanistin aus München zu tun hast 😉

  4. I admit to a few sobs myself when I read these selections, at least two of which I’d forgotten about for years. My forecast may change, but in my heart of hearts, I think we’ll get through this. There may be a lot of undoing what’s been done and will be done, but I have to believe that at some point, good men and women who haven’t done so yet, will finally step forward and push back hard, even if it’s just ordinary politics that makes that happen. Still, this was the bleakest, most depressing Fourth I can recall in my entire life. On the other hand, it was also the one year where I thought most about the real meaning of the day.

    • as I think I’ve said, mom had this love of poetry and she would always recite Concord Hymn on the 4th of July (though it’s really about the Battle of Lexington and Concord). So maybe there was some double emotion there from me.

      I am coming over to your view, somewhat. I think what’s disastrous is all the people we are going to lose, kill, and abuse in the interval. The whole “undoing what’s been done” looks different from the individual perspective than from the social one and I think that’s been the biggest historical lesson I’ve been learning in the last few years, the whole matter of how we live in time and then it’s over, if it was a bad administration for Muslims, on some level that can’t entirely be remediated.

      The other thing is that I really did not envision how obstructionist the GOP congressional parties have become. I knew they were divided, but I really thought they’d get over it and do their best to steamroll over the country. (OTOH there’s the bitter irony that if we get to keep the ACA it will be because of someone like Rand Paul who thinks we should all just die in our beds).

    • 🙏 💞 🌎 🌏 🌍 🗽 🙏

  5. I admit to a few sobs myself reading this but for something else, too.
    Votre article me permet de mettre en parallèle deux grands morceaux de musique très poignants et deux commémorations presque simultanées de part et d’autre de l’Atlantique.
    Si pour vous la commémoration du 4 juillet était l’occasion de nous faire écouter les tonitruantes percussions et les cuivres de la “Fanfare for the Common Man”, acceptez que je vous parle de la date du 5 juillet.
    Ce jour là, aux Invalides, à Paris fut organisée la cérémonie nationale d’hommage, c’est à dire les obsèques officielles de l’ancienne ministre, première présidente ( directement élue) du Parlement Européen: Simone Veil. Cette femme politique, très populaire en France, fait pratiquement consensus. Le “chant des marais” ou “chant des déportés” -“Die Moorsoldaten”- (chant composé en 1933 par des prisonniers allemands, anti- nazis déportés, au camp de concentration de Börgermoor) fut chanté a cappella pour rappeler l’histoire personnelle d’ancienne déportée de Madame Simone Veil…. So who CAN NOT CRY THOSE DAYS? …

    • I saw the obituary in a few places (I always confused Simone Veil with Simone Weil — and had to look twice). A great loss.

  6. (((Hugs)))

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