Happy 4th July

Our family is about to celebrate America’s Independence Day for the first time. It’s July 4th Stateside and I’ve made the table decorations to mark today’s occasion.

July 4th or ‘Independence Day’ commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th. On this day in 1776 America declared Independence from Great Britain.
It’s the national day of the United States in the same way that Waitangi Day isn’t the national day of New Zealand.

New Zealand has a holiday that we are told is a national holiday: Waitangi Day.
How it can be called a National holiday beats the hell out of me.
It’s a day that celebrates the signing of a ‘Treaty’. A mere agreement to case and desist all fighting ¬†and efforts towards autonomous rule and instead roll over and get ones tummy tickled by royalty ¬†in return for guns, booze and smokes.
Who can say whether it was a good deal or not. There is a hell of a living that wouldn’t have been lived if it wasn’t for a good dose of the aforementioned goods.
However, there has never been a point in time where New Zealand has been able to mark a line in the sand as the point at which a nation goes forward on it’s own relieved of reciprocal recognition to a far off land or ‘Crown’. ¬†No wonder we have the continual petty bickering over issues such as the SOE partial sell off and the anti-smacking bill.¬†
Arguably, if we weren’t a constitutional monarchy and had both an upper and lower house (bicameral system), the original sell-offs of state assets in their entirety under Labour and National may never have happened and left the dark legacy it did.
MMP would never have been introduced. At the risk of being politically incorrect, and as someone who voted for MMP, I have to say that could have been a good thing. After almost two decades we still have the same clown, Winston Peters, as Master of Ceremonies.

It’s incredible that we still haven’t cut the apron strings from Queen Liz. And it is my fervent belief that New Zealand won’t know a cohesive society until this happens.
There is a lot of discussion around the traps about New Zealand’s DREADFUL levels of inequality. The unspoken message behind this being; if all the rich bastards were to do the decent thing and stump up with more tax we might all be able to continue on in the same footing in our Leaky Boat.
We hear about the nation’s profit’s flowing offshore.
Of course they do. Just like the United States’ profits and goods did, prior to their Independence Day. Until this time, here was an expectation that the flow of goods and services went back home to Auld England, the then center of the developed world.
Declaring independence allowed the United States to develop a structured society that favored policies promoting the well-being of the U.S.
A middle class exploded and consumed what was produced within the nation while supplying cheap labour to grow industry. This was the foundation of the nation that became the only superpower after the Cold War.
In the same colonial fashion do have ¬†a flow of the best of our produced goods out of New Zealand. We have no choice but to open the door for offshore corporates to farm New Zealanders for profits. This is just what happens when you don’t have the population to support banking and telephony or cheap in house manufacturing .
Circa 1840, sensible leaders would have closed shop temporarily while the concepts of nationhood and patriotism were contemplated and opened again to encourage an influx of immigrants.
¬†The United States became a self directed nation and is still encouraging an influx of immigrants today. The U.S. takes 15-20% of the world’s refugees annually while also creaming the most qualified of other global immigrants. This is one factor in the predictions that the U.S will experience the most economic growth over the coming decade.

Personally, the 4th of July marks the six month anniversary of our arrival in this new country of ours.
The first time I saw the united States from the air on New Years Eve 2011,it was like a punch in the guts.
My glimpse also coincided with a real punch in the guts from my three year old son who was leapfrogging over me from his cramped seat, desperate, after a stomach distressing, 14 hour flight from Auckland, to make it to the bulkheads while we descended to San Francisco International Airport, (SFO).
I was left with the impression of a great sprawling metropolis that reached from sky to the sea. Tendrils of fog clung to distant hills as we taxied into the middle of SF. My immediate impression was of how light the atmosphere seemed to be. It was so light that I instinctively looked for a second sun.
An explosion of color met our travel weary eyes.
New Zealand is green. Green grey and white. California is the palette of a make up artist on acid. It is as though the latest season’s Lancome Color Story has been cross pollinated by innovative MAC pigments to throw a riotous lash of every color imaginable across seaside terrain.

The perceptions of the U.S. that I had before moving here are completely different from the reality. I thought it would be a grim concrete jungle. The concrete jungle’ of San Francisco is as arresting and lush as the foothills of the mountain where we live. The mountain that throws up coyotes, rattlesnakes, tarantulas, black widows squirrels and raccoons. And we all coexist ‘relatively’ harmoniously in the ark whose very essence was defined by a series of living documents deginning with the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

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