Happy July 4th to all my friends in the USA and around the world!
In our busy lives it’s easy to lose sight of America’s greatness and to forget why we shook the world in the first place.
This July 4th let’s remember that the United States of America was the first time since the rise of feudalism that people could own their own land and govern themselves.
That’s a big deal.
Sure, there had long been parliaments and senates and such, but kings, queens, emperors and empresses had really been in charge. Right up until 1776, the British Crown could force you to board troops, could levy taxes against you without recording your vote, and even put you in irons without a hearing or seize your stuff. Escheatment still survives to this day, a vestigial organ reminding us that unclaimed property reverts to the ownership of the state because, in the past, everything really belonged to the Crown anyway.
Yes, the United States of America is a really big deal, a remarkable experiment that continues to this day. There are still plenty of places in the world that are controlled by absolute rulers, sultans, kings, despots, communist parties, and so on. And while the USA is no utopia, there are reasons why everyone wants to get in.
You’re a grand old flag. Forever in peace may you wave.
The flag of the Order of Seven Hills martial arts club — flying in the darkness
My martial arts club meets outdoors Tuesday nights and Saturday afternoons, rain or shine, twelve months a year. We’ve had as many as eight people coming out regularly. One afternoon I remember counting eleven. Lately it has been more like four.
But there are some nights, like this past Tuesday, when nobody comes out besides me. Totally alone in the cold darkness with paper cups blowing like tumbleweeds, I don’t turn around and go home. I put up the club flag. I work out and, when I’m done, I recite our closing pledge.
I do the same thing with my writing. Do I have any books on the NYT Bestseller List? Do I have thousands of fans clamoring for my next book? Nope — but I strive to make every book I write the best damn book I ever wrote. Even when nobody is reading but me.
Fly your flag. Even if its dark, even if nobody is watching, even if nobody knows it’s flying but you. It just may be that those lonely nights are the most important times of all to let it fly.