On Background with Splotches - The Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire; links to articles about it in one place (at least for now, later may require search terms). No, I wasn't there. Li...
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Happy Thanksgiving, You Buckle-Hatted Jackasses.
In this wonderful nation, at this magnificent time in human history I have many, many reasons to give thanks. Why am I particularly grateful? After centuries of hard work we became the kind of country you people would have utterly despised.
It's strange how we teach our kids this fairy tale of your courageous search for what we somehow find the audacity to call "religious freedom." We act like you actually wanted to see a place where the First Amendment became law. That our struggle is a continuation of your own. And then the real story becomes something of an asterisk to the preschool fantasy we've created, complete with its construction paper hats and handprint turkey art.
I want to take a moment to remember that it is precisely this real story that should make us proud and amazed and happy. Out of the darkness of human history one of the nastier, more narrow-minded collections of primates emerged on a small, rickety ship trying to find an out of the way spot on the planet where they could set up an ugly little cult compound and practice their backward traditions without interference. They survived, prospered... They executed witches and outlawed the really fun sexual practices. They suppressed women and punished nonbelievers. They banned Christmas, for Chrissake. And yet... the colony they created grew into the kind of country that would snuff out their whole stupid culture.
Oh sure, we haven't finished the job. Creationists are still selling textbooks. Michele Bachmann has government stationery. But more and more Americans are dedicating themselves to creating the kind of tolerant, open-minded society that would make you Pilgrims wish that first winter had claimed the lot of you. You couldn't walk the streets of our great cities without wanting to drop to your knees and await the Apocalypse.
Every day those who'd agree with you get shriller and more powerless. They're still here, of course. We will never get rid of them. We don't need to. We won't take away their rights. But we'll win when they can't take away ours. This big crazy country is becoming the kind of place that stands in opposition to every sick thing you ever wanted.
And as we stop pretending you're the good guys, we appreciate the subversive character of freedom more deeply. We realize it has a pitiless and undeniable logic - in claiming it for yourself, you allow others to claim it for themselves. In ways you can't predict. In ways you might not like. Freedom spreads, because we always end up discovering we're going to have to let others have it, to keep it for ourselves.
Thank you, Mayflower crew. You enemies of liberty, you opponents of everything America can be. We'll take it from here.