Sunday, July 4, 2021

Happy America Day!

The last year has been... interesting, hasn't it? Despite everything, though, I think there is always room for Muppet patriotism.

One thing the pandemic has brought into sharp focus for me is what it means to be a foreigner. In Asia, you sort of get used to the collective belief that you are, and always will be, an outsider. Ang mo, gweilo, gaijin--these terms are so common you barely notice. But then there's a crisis, and you notice. In some places, it quickly became clear that foreigners were at the back of the line, and worse, were blamed for the pandemic. It's easy to do. Foreigners are the "other." (And in America, they have been blamed over the years for being an economic drag, a source of crime and a vector for disease--none of which are remotely true.)

As we celebrate the Fourth of July, let's also celebrate an unambiguously good thing about America: unless you are racist, it's impossible to look at anyone on the street and say "yeah, that person doesn't belong here." That's not true in most of the rest of the world.

Anyway. Get out there and barbecue. Shoot off fireworks. Give lots of hugs. And don't lose sight of the fact that we *all* belong here, wherever here is.

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