Thursday, July 4, 2013
A celebration of American independence in Australia
From an Australian viewpoint, the initiation of America's first civil war by the declaration of independence does not seem a good idea. The declaration by itself does not bear close scrutiny -- as Canadian Conrad Black points out. It was mainly a complaint about more laws being needed and the King not allowing them! Read it here if you doubt that.
And Australia gained its independence from Britain just by a few old guys signing some papers -- without a drop of blood being spilt and no disruptions of any kind. Which is why Australia is still a monarchy with Queen Elizabeth as head of state. And the basic cause of the American dissatisfaction -- a request that Americans pay a small tax which the British themselves were already paying -- hardly seems worth mass bloodshed.
Nonetheless, inauspicious beginnings have led to worthy results in the long term and, up until recently, America really was a light of liberty for all mankind. Whether the slide into Fascism accelerated under the Obama administration will ever be reversed is a moot question. The land of the free has become the land of the regulated. Will a third civil war be needed to re-light the beacon of individual freedom? Many American gun owners are bracing themselves for that possibility
But respect for the individual in America has already survived such assaults as Abraham Lincoln's totally unnecessary war -- in which he limited government "by the people" to Northerners only -- and the fortunately foiled dash for Fascism by FDR -- who described dictator Mussolini as "That admirable Italian gentleman'. And in that context the birthday of the USA is well worth celebration.
So I invited a few family members over to my place for a small celebratory dinner earlier tonight. I hoisted Old Glory from my flagpole out the front, broke out the champagne and ordered in some food. The dinner was held on my front verandah so we ordered in food from our local Indian restaurant. Indian food on my verandah has become something of a family tradition.
Even though she is at the moment heavily pregnant, Susan cheerfully did her usual highly appreciated job of taking our orders, phoning them though and then going to pick the food up. Vonnie went with her to help with the pickup. Girl talk ensued, no doubt.
Curry is not exactly an American food but Susan brought along an excellent apple pie ready to go into the oven so we had hot apple pie to round off our dinner. That at least was iconically American. If you get the impression that Susan is a treasure, you are right!
A good pic of Susan, Paul and Matthew on an earlier occasion
As we all know one-another very well it was a very relaxed and congenial meeting with discusions mainly about family matters and the children. As they often do, little Matthew and Hannah played very well together.
Paul kept up his usual tirade against Leftism and Simon was his usual paragon of taciturnity -- though he did enlighten us at one stage about the New Zealand sheep-meat trade. Anne talked mainly to Susan and Vonnie -- about secret women's business.
It has emerged recently that Vonnie is at least as big a sentimentalist as Paul and I are so we discussed Vonnie's little collection of keepsakes that remind her of special times, places and events. I mentioned that I still had Joe's tricycle and ride-on toy so Von and Paul asked to see those -- as they too remember Joes's childhood in which he used those things. So there was a pilgrimage to the garage to view those.
My house is of the "Old Queenslander" type, a big timber house with a central corridor. And when Paul and the twins were little they loved running around in circles INSIDE the Queenslander I had then -- something made possible by verandahs and the corridor. Tonight Paul realized he could do the same in my present house so he revisited his youth by doing so, running around in partnership with Matthew, who enjoyed it greatly.
The trike -- untidily stored away in my garage