Independence Day

July 21, 2012 at 12:02 am (Genealogy/Family)

Decorating ourselves at Glenmoor’s Alta Park

The last couple years since our marriage, we’ve celebrated Independence Day in Glenmoor at my mother’s house. I grew up in Glenmoor, and it was one of the first suburban tracts in Fremont, CA. In the seventies I remember the Glenmoor development surrouned by orchard and flower farms. The Glenmoor neighborhood was built by the Reeder family of whom Reeder Sr. was a city councilman. The Reeders have been Birchers for some time, and it was the son of Reeder Sr. who help me join the Birch Society. I love celebrating the Fourth in Glenmoor since it allows me to share something of my childhood with my wife and baby-girl while invoking many sweet memories.

Cub Scouts lead the Parade, Troop 176

However, I’m no longer an active Bircher. Nor can I say I’m much of a republican. I believe in passive obedience, so a day that recollects the overthrowing of a christian Crown doesn’t sit too well with me. I’ve since come to the conclusion that the church must make itself a self-supportive, confessional counter-culture before it can engage with any success on a post-christian and multiracial society like current America. Since that conclusion, I can say the only politics I pay heed are those presently inside the church, namely, the ACNA and its ministry partners. But what of the post-christian, multiracial society I now find my family and myself a part of? It’s certainly no longer a white or protestant ethnic culture. Though WASP cultural elements might remain partially active therein, they’re no longer dominant. It’s been said that America is living Idea (expanding into the realm of economic rights) rather than a specific genealogy or heritage of any particular people. Nonetheless, I tend to identify “true” America with whatever is genuinely Old, relishing events or institutions that memorialize such persons as founding fathers, westward pioneers, and/or maintainers of protestant faith (like markers in the cemetery).  Once upon a time Fremont fully celebrated these memories and people(s), but it does so rarely today. Most tokens and diaries have been shut up in a dusty, neglected museum owned by the Mission Peak Historical Society.

Wifey and Baby marching

Being a parent makes these sentiments acute.  My wife and I have asked if we really want to continue to live in California. We are a clear ethnic minority in this part of the state, and we worry about what future remains for dear Abigail. I’m inclined to cut losses and admit California was never really suitable for a New Helvetica or Albionis.  It was a failed experiment, and perhaps it’s time for the white ethnics to retreat to more natural climates or pastures. Yet, there remains many ethnic pockets, like Glenmoor, where fragments of the past– e.g., Scouting, Patriot Days, and other homely customs (like basic trust and safety)– continue steadily.

Lower Flag: “One Nation Under God”

Independence Day creates a number of mixed emotions. Our independence from Britain eroded ethnic identity from the start, and defining what was ‘truly’ (or loyal) American was never simple given the basis of early colonial identity was complicated. States had their own peculiar religious establishment, and in some cases, different european ethnic settelments.  But, for a while, there was a common denominator that held things together, at least through the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, that stemmed from the old world, probably most identifiable with British religion and law.

Nonetheless, going back to the Revolution itself, one recalls a conservative phase followed the initial radical one, and the success of the old Federalist against Jefferson’s Democratic Party demonstrates that conservative traditions can be mixed.  Perhaps there is hope for transplanted Britannia, but, at the very least, today’s patriotic and social language is more so open to conflicting interpretations. Curiously, the patriotic song, America (formerly known God Save the Queen), has been subject to alterations, adding verses for Washington’s birthday, Abolitionism, and Manifest Destiny. My favorite stanza is not surprisingly, and this is sung every Sunday at parish:

 “Our fathers’ God to Thee, Author of liberty, To Thee we sing. Long may our land be bright, With freedom’s holy light, Protect us by Thy might, Great God our King.”

Thoughts: I believe all fathers want to pass on something authentic and permanent to our children.. and, hopefully, it will be well-received by their children’s children. Our affections for family, land, town, religion, customs, and heroes are a priceless part of a familial inheritance, and, when we love our own sons, we cannot help but instill those symbols cherished. Therefore, Independence Day is not only a day to return to a beloved neighborhood and hometown BBQ festivals, but it’s also a day to recount certain liberties that British people long ago enjoyed, perhaps as far back as the Magna Carta, asserted again in our Bill of Rights under William III, and finally in our American revolution.

Yet, these freedoms were removed from the anglo-American colonists until our patient revolution, 1776-1789, finally restoring what was withheld. And, lastly, it’s by these very dignities my own family can unlock and hopefully holdfast their special history with respect to this once great nation, ensuring what is still precious finds a passing through our daughter, Lord willing, and even future children.  Do we return to our past for the sake of our posterity? I pray so… I am still debating whether we should put Abigail into Heritage or Daisy Scouts. Both start young, even right after Kindergarten.

Our Daisy Scout: My Country, ‘Tis of Thee

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