Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Independence Day

... to all the American readers of this blog. I haven't really been around much to post, I'm afraid. Got back from Europe and had some immediate emergencies to deal with. But now I am around for a week or so before going to Santiago, Chile to teach in my law school's joint program at the University of Santiago. I'll teach the section on international economic law for a week.

Meanwhile, I'm headed to meet the family at the Palisades Park neighborhood annual July 4 parade. Renee marches in it annually with her swim team, the Dolphins - the team carries bags of little hard candies to toss to the little kids lined up on MacArthur Boulevard. July 4th parades in the US sort of divide into the Big Events - like the whole think out of the Mall in DC, which can be fun if the weather, like today, isn't too hot and humid, but is a bit like New Year's Eve in Time Square, a big public event with all the attendant issues of tranportation, etc. Then there are the small neighborhood parades, like the Palisades parade, which has been going on for years and years. Very informal, just local groups and kids sports teams and clubs and what on this blog is otherwise portentiously known as Civil Society. Not even political - Palisades has traditionally been a bit of a countercultural DC neighborhood, a bit left-over hippyish and lefty, although the explosion of housing prices over the past few years has perhaps had an impact on that - just a neighborhood celebration with lots of flags and red, white and blue.

(It's sometimes hard for friends of mine who are card-carrying post-national cosmopolitans from Europe or elsewhere to understand that it's not considered weird in the US for progressive lefty types, especially with kids, to attend, and for that matter organize, these kinds of neighborhood parades, and stand around on the street waving flags and red, white and blue. We had a flag out one July 4 when a friend was visiting from Europe; so did lots of the neighbors - he asked whether those houses who had put out flags were Republicans and those that hadn't were Democrats, red state versus blue state - and was very surprised when I told him I doubted there was any correlation on our street at all. European post-Christian friends often have the same reaction when they find that although there are clear differences of religiousity among American conservatives and progressives, lots of lefty-progressive families attend church regularly, especially if they have kids - my law faculty is a case in point - you likely gravitate to a church whose views you are comfortable with, but it's not considered weird or anything to be a believer and go and take your kids.)

Whenever I go to one of these parades, I realize I had no idea there were so many people in the greater DC area who wear kilts and play the bagpipes. If I can get any decent pictures I'll post a couple.

I admit that I have often skipped the Palisades parade in past years - I tend to wilt in the often oppressive heat and humidity of summer in DC. However, this year is relatively cool and dry, so why not?


Vigilante said...

Interesting site, Kenneth. I could benefit from reading more deeply into your pages than I have time for today. Some time ago I took a stab at the illegality of our invasion of Iraq, but I'm aware it was at a hopeless superficial level.

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