Thursday, July 4, 2013

Empire Lost


Gideon goes for the older women.
True to my promise to his grandmother, I dressed baby boy in a July 4th get up today (sorry, bad mother that I am, I took no pictures of this outfit, only of his non-patriotic bumble bee PJs).  With my "bub" strapped to me in his red, white, and blue cap, I hustled about my village today running small errands reminding the Brits I encountered that it was Independence Day.  This generally produced nonchalant smiles and friendly comments which did not allow me to be too (jokingly) smug about it all.

Some kind of truth in the joking responses reminded me of something my supervisor at Cambridge said about older Brits having a keen sense of lost empire, as their worldwide colonies scattered the globe in recent memory.  There is some subtle sense that Great Britain was recently but no longer a world superpower (perhaps how America may feel in coming years...). 

We were the first colony of many to leave that great empire, and the only one to do so by a successful revolution.  That is saying something.  Many though devolved yet recognize the Queen and continue to imbibe in remnants of British culture. You can still feel British cultural presence and impact all over the world from cricket-loving Indians to tea drinkers in Jamaica. Yet cultural empires are much different things than geopolitical empires. 

So for this very patriotic American living in the violently eschewed mother country, I very quietly but emphatically raise an alcohol-free virtual glass and cry, "Cheers to Empire Lost!" - at least as in respects to my own country.

A few Americans got together in Primrose Hill Park to celebrate the 4th.


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