The Inimitable Alice!
The Inimitable Alice!
SEE NAOMI KLEIN WINS SYDNEY PEACE PRIZE – A.M. AFTER I POSTED THIS BLOG, below
This scene from Chatham, Massachusetts, which I call “Tethered Steeple” could also be titled “Tethered Flag.” This morning I passed the Lawrenceville Volunteer Fire Department, en route home from having kayaked to the Fishing Bridge and back. Our firemen had created their Memorial Day sign: “HOME OF THE FREE, BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE.”
Regular NJWILDBEAUTY readers know my grave concern for citizens’ rights in our land. My immediate thought, upon seeing that noble firehouse sign this morning was, “Well, they all seem to have died in vain.”
I worry a great deal about what our Founding Fathers must think of vanished liberty in so-called America. About everyone’s being treated as a criminal in airports, and now even in museums and theatres (Manhattan, not yet in Princeton).
I am particularly devastated that land, –even that preserved in perpetuity-, is being punctured already with PIPELINE pipes of hideous yellow – color of 21st-Century tyranny.
This land is no longer OUR LAND, as the lovely song insisted when we were fighting our own government to end the Vietnam War. “…and all around us, a voice was singing, this land was made for you and me.” Reality seems to me, “this land was made for fossil fuels!”
The fossil fuel industry would have it otherwise, as would many so-called ecological organizations, significantly funded by those whose motto is “Drill, Baby, Drill!”, (referred to by the brilliant author, Naomi Klein, as ‘Big Green.’ (This Changes Everything — Capitalism vs. the Climate”.)
I don’t know what the rest of you do to counter these dire trends. What would George and Ben and John and Abigail and Thomas (Paine) and Thomas (Jefferson) have done, faced with the restrictions and constrictions of liberty in our times?
Please note how many of my excursion pictures seem to be taken in high winds… We should stop blaming the situation of ‘climate change’, and begin accurately targeting fossil fuel magnates, politicians bought by them, the organizations founded by and funded by them, who permit the continued ruination of our country, our Planet.
Memorial Day used to be called ‘Decoration Day.’ It was created to honor Civil War dead, and there were supposedly two different such days, — one for the North and one for the South. Somehow they were, –after a suitable lapse of time–, merged into Memorial Day.
As children, families went to the family graveyards, honoring deceased relatives. We did not, but many did, [and in Salem and Cumberland Counties of New Jersey, many still do], have a memorial meal at the grave site. When we visited, we cleaned the graves, weeded, watered, brought new flowers, and parents reminisced. Our ancestors lived on through these rituals.
Turns out we were ‘doing it wrong,’, as this day is supposed to be about honoring those who died in war for our country.
“HOME OF THE FREE, BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE.”
Let’s KEEP it that way. Write legislators, editors, heads of ruinous Fossil Fuel organizations. There is a Women’s movement, called “Take Back the Night.”
We need to pledge OUR lives, OUR fortunes, OUR sacred honor, if there is any such entity in these troubled times.
We need a TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY mentality. Our land needs to be OUR land again.
I am an old-fashioned patriot. I mean really old-fashioned, as in the time of and the paradigm of the Founding Fathers.
When people ask, lightly for them, “In what era would like to have lived?”, I always say the 1770’s in Philadelphia. Only not as a woman. None of this Betsy Ross business, nor even the brilliant Abigail, urging John, “Remember the women.”
No, I don’t even care which man I am, so long as I am a man, and off to the City Tavern with Toms (1 and 2 — Jefferson and Paine), John (Adams of course), Ben – who needs no surname, and George, Father of our Country in many ways beyond war. I have a powdered wig and those dusky pantalons, and white long stockings, and uncomfortable-looking shoes with sort-of high heels and shiny buckles. Night after night, in the rustic taverns, lit by candle or gaslight, I am saying with my buddies, “Give me Liberty, or give me death.”
I don’t have any patience with the skim-milk liberty of the 21st Century. I bristle when the Fourth of July is termed a Freedom Fest. In our country now, which our Founding Fathers would never recognize, the more we prate of liberty and freedom, the less we have.
This scene of barn and fields is my personal American icon. It stands for Independence, such as farmers lived and passed on through generations. It stands for salt-of-the-earth people, who worked with the earth, not in spite of it, to feed families and neighbors, to nourish not only bodies, but the very spirit of our land.
Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were farmers. They knew the solid safety of our country rested on rural realities. Not in slogans, let alone in the renaming of airports.
Those inalienable rights for which our Forefathers pledged and some lost their fortunes and lives, tho never their sacred honor, are trampled daily in 21st-Century Washington, by mega-corporations, in our very un-free media, in books, in trade deals, in intra-country negotiations.
Eleanor Roosevelt’s International Bill of Rights, for which she (the only woman at the United Nations) thought and fought and negotiated and declared, seems a figment of imagination. Lost in the shuffle, and worse. Her proudest achievement – trampled in the dust.
Our entire country won the war of Revolution here, where I live now, in Lawrenceville (then Maidenhead) and in Trenton’s two Christmas battles, and in nearby Monmouth and in distant Yorktown, thanks to the French Fleet and heroic Lafayette. It was also won in small towns, such as Concord and Lexinbton and on Bunker Hill in Boston, and in kitchens where wives and children melted the family pewter and silver and whatever other metals, to create bullets to defeat the tyrranical Brits.
in weeks and months before the written Declaration, and in the interminable years thereafter, the man and woman in the streets, in the fields, and even in tea-burning ceremonies in Greenwich New Jersey and yes in Princeton, as well as in Boston, courage was the norm, and rights were the motive..
Heroes were also our norm in those decades, and they didn’t only wear pantalons. Resistance was as fierce among wives and daughters of our Founding Fathers, as among the men in Philadelphia. In many cases, the women were nearer to the maurading British, gunpowder, cannonfire, destruction by many means of their homes and communities. Their spines were as stiff as those of their mates, negotiating in various capitals, riding to country taverns with muffled horses’ hooves, standing on balconies and reading declarations of rights.
Life. Liberty. The Pursuit of Happiness. How simple they sounded when I was a child. How they fired the soldiers in WWI and WWII, especially on D Day and beyond. How rare those qualities seem now.
We fought for them, even more than for our flag.
I am greatly disturbed always that the Stars and Stripes became a symbol of aggression and revenge, instead of freedom and inalienable rights, from the first moments of 9/11 ever onward.
Do you ever wonder where all those flapping auto-flags came from, within hours of the dissolution of the Twin Towers? Who alerted the flag-manufacturers?
Before 9/11, we never saw those flags except in rare personal presidential motorcades, as when JFK motored through Detroit and Illinois before his impossible election.
After 9/11, little flags were everywhere and big ones inexplicably on bridges and overpasses. Why? In those days, it seemed, our banner stood for vengeance, even war.
I happen to love the Stars and Stripes.
All year, I’ve been photographing them hither and yon, to try to recapture the pride and honor of Fourth of July as a child.
Hence the collection. What does it mean to YOU?
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