I owe an anonymous woman in Ajijic an apology.
She wanted to know if someone was going to put together a Canada Day celebration in Ajijic.
The question surprised me. There just seemed to be something unusual about celebrating a national holiday in a foreign land.
I know where that comes from. Most of my years overseas were in the service of the American federal government. We were taught to keep a low profile.
Of course, there was always a Fourth of July party at the American Embassy. But that was a diplomatic tradeoff for attending every other nation’s holiday at their embassies -- under the legal fiction that each embassy is built on its own sovereign soil.
I felt rather smug in my logic. Until I was confronted with one of my first social engagements in San Miguel de Allende. Did I want to attend a Democrats Abroad Fourth of July picnic at a Mexican hotel?
A deconstructionist could probably spend a week developing the odds on why I wouldn’t attend. I have a strong dislike of politics. The weather was a bit blustery for a picnic. And the event was sponsored by Democrats Abroad – and I am neither.
But I am here to meet people. I joined Babs earlier in the day for a coffee klatsch with a group of Americans who live either full time or part time in San Miguel. It would be an interesting group to meet up with each Monday.
Babs and I were then off to join Fred and Ron at the picnic. To be honest, it was a bust. If the sign had not announced the event was sponsored by Democrats Abroad, it could easily have been confused with a Rotary Sunday brunch buffet in Pocatello.
Other than a couple of American flags, there was nothing to indicate this was the fourth day in July – or why the day has any caché.
The four of us sat down and were joined by two other men I had met at church. I have been here four days, and I have discovered one of the dirty little secrets of any social gathering – no matter the size of the city. The same group of people move from party to opening to concert to church. What Stephen Sondheim jokingly called: “The blob.”
And because I have been focusing on relationships, I really did not give much thought this year to what this celebration of independence means for The States. Several fellow bloggers have commented that the country seems to be obsessed with fear.
I am not certain that assessment is correct. I have seen something quite different on my trips north. Maybe it is just the flip side of fear. But what I see is an odd demand by Americans for certainty. Guarantees that we will be healthy, safe, financially secure. That we will not have our feelings hurt. And with each demand for a guarantee, we give up just a bit more of our freedom.
And where did this notion come from that failure is not an option? Whatever happened to the attitude of doing your best. Maybe getting the stuffing knocked out of you. But getting back up and trying again?
I have great hope for The States. As I do for Mexico.
Both countries have a lot going for them -- always have. Failure is an option. But it should not be the goal.