Red Winged Black Bird on a fence post in a field.

Independence Day 2009


Category: philosophies

For the Fourth of July, it is remarkably cool here in Iowa. Where we are normally warmer than 80 degrees, today we are just under 70. The light rain and clouds have shuffled off to the east to dampen Illinois. I just finished a very patriotic walk in the park

Not too many people go to the parks on rainy days. The same held true today, but the ones who were there seemed pleasant enough. The flowers bloomed. The bumble bees scoured them for nectar. The Mexican music drifted gently over the grass to fill the park.

What's that you say? Mexican music on the Fourth of July?

Yep, that's what I said. When many people think of Iowa, they think of huge, white people wearing bib overalls and sitting on tractors. That's only mostly accurate. We're also a very pragmatic bunch who don't put up with a lot of non-sense. That means when folks from other parts of the world are tired of putting up with other people's non-sense, they will occasionally immigrate to Iowa.

In general, we don't mind, as long as they don't bring trouble and are willing to work. We especially like people who work. Our meat packing plants filled up quickly with foreign workers. The ones who didn't mind getting in a good forty hours stayed. The other would get cold come winter and seek warmer places to lie about. As a result, we have a reasonably good sized Hispanic population, in addition to a fair number of Serbs and others.

Today, it was the music that struck me most. Accordions and tubas joined together to bring rhythm and melody so nicely. It wasn't much different than what you hear on the Sunday Morning Polka Show. So the lyrics were in Spanish instead of Czech, Polish, or German. I don't speak Czech or Polish, and what little German I knew has decayed to the point where I'm limited to reading road signs in World War Two movies. The point is that the music itself was no different.

My father's line has been in this country for about 194 years. We didn't speak English when we got here, and some of my relatives can barely speak English now. The one thing we do still do is respect people who don't bother anybody and who do an honest day's work. In an immigrant, productivity and a lack of criminal activity is far more important the superficial things like language, manner of dress, and music. Over time, we'll all blend in together.

Nobody knows what will happen to the United States as a country. The Liberals want to turn it into Barbie's Dream Commune. The Conservatives want to turn it into the Camp Pretend-I'm-Right-Or-Else Rival and War Machine. In the long run, it is the hard working, pragmatic folk who continue on. They always have. They are the ones who will out last everyone else, regardless of language. That's not just an American thing, it's a Human thing.

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