posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 09:56 PM
In spite of the fact that the United States is embroiled in several wars, responsible for the invasion of two countries, politically condoning
assassination as a valid form of diplomacy and justice, embracing several states within the union that execute their own for certain crimes, and just
a general malaise that reflects more a thanocracy than it does any democracy, American's still, in general, manage to show a remarkable proclivity
for hope and even peace. Some would say that American's celebrate death, and anyone who pays attention to American English idioms knows full well
that an obsession with death is very much a part of the cultural milieu.
Idioms such as; "If I don't get an A on that next paper, my parents will kill me", or "I am absolutely dying to see the new Julia Roberts and
Brad Pitt film", or "Did you see Conan last night? Man he slays me", or "No, but I saw Leno and he died in his monologue. Bombed", "I love my
wife, but she's killing me!", all are common idiomatic expressions and all indicate a morose fascination with death and dying. Even so, American's
celebrate far more than death...American's celebrate life.
The 4th of July is America's first national holiday, and while it is a celebration of the beginning of revolution - technically speaking, the
celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence - far from being a celebration of death, this holiday is a celebration of life, and of
ideal lifestyles. It is a celebration of hope as much as a celebration of life, and the symbolic fireworks displayed each year do not represent the
destruction wrought by the rockets red glare, but rather symbolic of how this red glare lit up a desperate sky to reveal the resilience of freedoms
Before the change of combining George Washington's birthday with Lincoln's birthday, because they were both born in February, into one single
"President's Day", the nation celebrated George Washington's birthday, and Abraham Lincoln's birthday, respectively. Not their death days, but
their birthdays. Indeed, birthdays are celebrated by Americans on a daily basis. You would think such a daily and continual celebration of life
would be antithetical to "Americanism", but "Americanism" is not a definitions of Americans defined by Americans (Well, some American Europhiles
maybe.) but rather a term often used by other people from other nations who tend to view Americans from the point of view of their own cultural bias.
It is arguable that being American is antithetical to "Americanism".
American's are guilty of some morbidity, but as a people they are not alone. America did not produce Sarte, Camus, Kafka, Samuel Beckett, and the
scads of other literary authors obsessed with death, they were morbid writers with a distinct European world view. Even so, Europeans do not seem to
obsess over death any more, or less than American's. Both Western worlds seem more intent on the celebration of life than they do the dwelling of
death. As American's, one of the many ways in which we celebrate life is by celebrating the life of others.
Whether we celebrate Thomas Jefferson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, or Marilyn Monroe, we do not celebrate their deaths, we
celebrate their lives, because no matter how morbid we as Americans may be, we much prefer life over dwelling on death. Yet, when we think of death,
dwell on death, or obsess on death, we mostly do so out of fear, no different than anyone else on the planet. Fear.
When we are thinking about life, and celebrating life we are not doing so out of fear, but out of love, no different than anyone else on the planet.