We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
These words begin the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, in which 237 years ago this day, the thirteen American colonies announced that they considered themselves states independent of Britain. This long experiment with democracy has had its ups and downs. The downs have always coincided with efforts to limit the rights of members of society. The ups have always coincided with the triumph of these rights over attempts to limit, stifle, or deny them.
As has been said, the United States is a great nation. Definitely not as great as we sometimes think we are, but still a great nation. Let us use this Independence Day as an opportunity to appreciate the many positive attributes of our democracy and to rededicate ourselves to the self-evident truth that all men are created equal and that we are only equal when our unalienable rights are available to all.
Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. It is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate women worldwide and to remind ourselves of the work yet to be done to fight gender inequality. But it is sad that we need a special day for this. With two young nieces growing up, my hope is that by the time they become adults, they will know no hint of inequality or discrimination.
Valentine’s Day came and went in the Big Mango in a manner that would make you forget that the holiday is an American import. On the Skytrain, ladies carried roses from their lovers. In the mall, men swamped the chocolate counters, leaving shelves nearly bare. This is one import that has grabbed the hearts of Thais.
Some celebrate the day, others deride it as “Singles Day”. I thought Val made a good point when she wrote on Sunday, “…I feel compelled to remind [everyone] that it was not meant to be a day for couples but instead a day to remember the love we receive from all quarters and in all forms and to return that love.”
Amen to that!
For our Valentine’s celebration, Tawn and I traveled to the old city to watch a film. The annual French-Thai cultural festival la fête presented a screening of the French romantic comedy Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
The screening was held outdoors, on the lawn behind Museum Siam. The setting was gorgeous, the weather perfect, and eating a picnic of salami and goat cheese sandwiches, grilled vegetables, olives, and chocolate cake with ice cream (the cooling wonders of dry ice!) was the perfect way to spend the evening.
A brief video to show you the lay of the land just as the show was starting.