happy in(ter)depedence day


I'm not the most patriotic person in the country.

I was born and raised in the United States, but I have always felt that I didn't belong to this country, that I needed to explore and live temporarily in other parts of the world. (And I have: I lived in Toronto, Canada for three years and travel outside the US as much as possible, with more to come). My mom says she always knew I would end up living far from where I was raised. It's just part of who I am. I fully expect that at some point, we will end up living in another country for awhile (perhaps during my husband's sabbatical).

As much as I long to get back to Northern California (my spiritual home), I long to see other parts of the world and root myself in them, to get to know the earth better. I am a serial nomad at heart. 

On the other hand, I also have a compulsion to be a good US citizen. Even when I was a temporary ex-pat, I voted in every election I was able to vote in. I vote religiously, you might say. And unlike many people, I think everyone should vote, actually, not just the people who agree with my (liberal) politics. Democracy, true democracy, is part and parcel of my political beliefs, despite my socialist leanings.

I am an American.

I am also a global citizen.

I feel like countries are obsolete at this point, or just about to be. The internet has changed just about every facet of human life and globalization is just one drop in the "awesome things the internet has given us" bucket.

So today, as we celebrate American independence, I also celebrate global interdependence. We are all in this (living on Earth) together. What happens in one part of the world affects us all.

"No man is an island" said John Donne. I'll add: even islands are no longer islands. Not anymore. Skype, Facebook, email: islands are obsolete.

(Until you have an electrical outage. And then you're gonna need a plane or a boat or a chunnel. But hey, there they are! Even before the industrial revolution, look at the spread of Polynesian culture. And we have much bigger boats now. Even when we run out of oil, I don't think we're going back to the days before globalization. Our globalization might change, but it is here to stay, in my opinion/ hope.)

Continental drift happened eons ago, but it has only taken one century (plus or minus a few decades) to for us all to drift back together again, socially speaking. It shouldn't be a surprise that we're still trying to find our footing, in this new global world. It shouldn't be a surprise that even as we start friending people from all around the globe, certain parts of our society are becoming more insular and nationalistic, in turn. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

We are both independent and interdependent beings, always searching for the balance between the two sides of our nature. Nationalistic and Global. Compassionate and selfish. We each have both sides within us. We express those sides differently. Neither side is wrong. They are halves of the coin. They - we - need each other.

As Walt Whitman wrote:
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Like Whitman, I have a deep, abiding love for this land I live on. I carry a torch for democracy. I am fiercely independent.

And I have a deep, abiding love for global community, for the entirely earth. I carry a torch for anarchy. And I am fiercely interdependent.

Happy in(ter)dependence day!