May I firstly take this opportunity to wish all of my American friends the happiest of fourth of July celebrations on this the public anniversary of your nation’s founding.
Not being myself a US citizen, or indeed anything more than an ongoingly interested observer lucky enough to be allowed to abide within you republic I have always attempted to remain somewhat removed from the ambiguities raised by celebrating an ongoing two hundred and twenty four year experiment in governance that continually struggles to acknowledge and validate those truths that made its emergence self-evident.
I am occasionally inclined to highlight some of those difficulties, not you must understand in the cause of cruel or ill meaning criticism, but simply to point to the merest possibility of a misdirected step in the fruition of your grandiose scheme. If my long and fruitful coexistence in your bosom has taught me anything it is the still surprisingly raw reaction to any critique of this republic or the principles for which it proudly purports to stand, the elusive but wholly desirable qualities of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.
For many years before my relocation to your fair and welcoming shores I was a strident, analytical, and hopefully honest amateur student of that most politically turgid of enterprises known collectively as the United Kingdom, Great Britain of the British Isles. Perhaps no history of a peoples could ever match the five-act combination of comedy and tragedy of that particular production. Born from unambiguous disunity, conquered, freed, reconquered, freed and conquered once more, eventually only to gain some notion of self-worth through the ruthless abuse and prostitution of any and all other countries or peoples unfortunate enough to fall under the spell of her economic and political influence, Britannia’s Empiric might remains quite possibly the greatest single blight to ever befall the planet.
My early schooling was of course filled with quite the reverse considerations, the Empires passed being glorified and immortalized by tutor and tutorial alike. I read Kipling, Churchill, Conan Doyle, Tennyson, and of course Blake, listened enthralled to Elgar, Woods and Handel, and drank ecstatically the seeming sweet wine of nationalistic jingoism. In my all too inadequate defense I was extremely young, unexperienced, trusting, soaked from birth in the rich bouillon of unquestioning nationalistic fever. Thankfully, age matured me as would a cask of brandy, adding spirit and body, the ability to stand alone amongst and against my peers.
Everything I had absorbed, read, heard or seen I carefully dissected and diagnosed, then reconstructed and reconsidered, till the semblance of light began to creep across the face of reality, like those first few seconds after the corona of a total eclipse of the sun.
History is recorded by the victors, but more importantly it is specifically engineered to present those winners in the best and most advantageous light possible. Events create heroes and villains, how we perceive and judge the good or evil natures of those same individuals depends on the propagandized version of proceedings.
The righteous man assumes all truth is lies till proven otherwise. The fool swallows poison as easily as the finest Ottoman lokum and with the same unambiguous delight.