What does American Independence day mean for someone like me?
For me, its not so much about Patriotism. I wasn’t born here. I like this country. I have lived here long time. I am still not a citizen. There is a long and rigorous process to get there. America wants to make sure I am worth granting the citizenship. That is perfectly alright. It’s just that if America wants to keep open an option of kicking me out, then even I will try not to get too attached here. But that’s hardly an issue for day to day life. I can do pretty much everything an American does.
My very first introduction to the word America was perhaps when I was few years old and my uncle got me a book of picture of trains. Nice looking trains passing through mountains. Someone told me that it is America. Since then me and my sister thought America was name of the train.
Then at some point Mickey mouse entered our life but we didn’t know he was American. Because he spoke Hindi on Indian TV. Also we didn’t care. At that age the ideas of nations and nationalities were not fully grasped. All we knew was he was funny and so were the other characters he hung out with.
Then later it was Pop music and Holleywood movies. Before we knew America had entered our life.
Fast forward few years. I was boarding a plance to USA.
I moved here mostly for practical concerns. Good standard of life, etc. My journey was not as dramatic as some others. But still it was very dramatic and anxiety provoking for me. But as of today, my respect and love for America is not even for this practical matter. Well it is in part, but not the majority part.
I wasn’t planning to live here. Part of me is still unsure.
But with what I saw and learned here, made me a better person. It was here that I
Alan Watts has said “You should learn about another culture not because anything is lacking in your culture, but because unless you learn about some other culture, you don’t understand the basic assumptions you are making about your own.”
Over the years I have come to know and question a lot of basic assumptions about my home country, my own religion and myself. Over the years I have developed more mature, more balanced perspective on this world. And America and American values have contributed to this inner journey immensely.
That’s why I am thankful to America. My gratitude is for things that are far less dramatic, far less tangible, but far more pervasive and far deep and enriching in my life.
This is pretty good country with lot of friendly people. When Americans mean racial equality or individual freedom, they mean it. Obviously they are not perfect. But they mean those things more than other people who say similar things.
To all my good American friends. Cheers !! Long live USA.