Wednesday, July 04, 2018

happy fourth

This has been a week to show off the best patriotism of the NAFTA Three (as they will undoubtedly be known come the revolution).

Mexico held what may be a landmark election on Sunday. Canada celebrated the origins of its evolutionary birth on the same day. And, today, of course, is the day Americans have chosen to celebrate its Independence -- even though John Adams preferred the second, when Congress actually approved the resolution.

It feels a bit odd celebrating national days outside of the country that gave them birth. Election day here was the exception. It was easy to share in the excitement of choosing a new government just by watching the voters as they lined up in some very unforgiving heat. But it was an event taking place in the borders of the celebrating country.

The Canada and American holidays were the days with the odd vibrations. I have celebrated the Fourth of July in several foreign countries. The strangest was in Britain where touting a divorce while living with the other partner in the marriage had its sardonic moments.

There is always something of a colonial feel about tooting the horn of one's country while living or visiting in another. Or of celebrating Mexico's national days.  Especially when singing the Mexican national anthem:

But should a foreign enemy Profane your land with his sole, Think, beloved fatherland, that heaven gave you a soldier in each son. 
That "foreign enemy" was my country when the lyrics were written. And soon came to include Canada at the time of the Mexican Revolution.

I am prone to playing pranks on the Fourth of July. In Salem, I would fly the British flag merely to make the neighbors lift an eyebrow.

But, today there will be no pranks. Partly because flying foreign flags in Mexico without permission is a law violation.

Instead, for various reasons, I am reverting to my exercise and revised diet that I started a couple of years ago. I was supposed to attend a party this evening, but, for reasons of my own, I cannot.

Instead, I made a good start at putting together two healthy meals today.

For lunch, I made a sardine pâté of sardines, onion, serrano pepper, sweet pickle, tarragon, and olive oil. It was quite good on a bed of leaf lettuce.

For dinner I made an egg concoction. My nutritionist had recommended two poached eggs on a bed of sautéed spinach.

That struck me as something I would be fed in one of those old people holding pens just before being stuck in the ground. Instead, I 
sautéed onion, serrano pepper, tomato, kalamata olives, and spinach in olive oil along with two eggs mixed with marjoram. Because it sounded very Greek, I added some feta cheese along with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

I have been quite successful with my revised diet (more vegetables, fewer simple carbohydrates) whenever I am cooking for myself. My son, Omar, is a good cook in his own right. He has the choice of joining me or making his own. That will also mean far fewer trips to restaurants.

So, that is how I am celebrating the Fourth of July. No flags. No political speeches. No hot dogs.

Instead, I am celebrating the birth of a nation that I will honor as the place of my own birth. Where generations of citizens have had the great honor to bask in what Jonah Goldberg calls the Miracle -- 
the utterly unprecedented explosion of wealth and freedom that accompanied the emergence of liberal-democratic political arrangements and capitalist economic arrangements.

Let me lift a toast to the Miracle. Long may it thrive despite what successive governments have done to it.

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