Guess what? I ended up watching most of the Royal Wedding after blogging that I would not. I didn't see the actual ceremony, but I did see the grand entrance and I have to say, I was impressed.
It was everything I thought a royal event should be and more. It made me think back on Obama's Inauguration (which is the closest thing I can compare in America to a royal event) and the two are completely polar opposites. Here are the differences I noticed:
Royal Wedding - appeared to have a vast majority of the country showing unity for an event that represents a lot to their culture.
Inauguration - was mainly celebrated by only those in favor of the political party of the President.
Royal Wedding - was attended by dignitaries and royal figures from around the world.
Inauguration - was attended by other politicians and Hollywood types. They had multiple camera shots of celebrities from Jamie Foxx to Puff Daddy (who both were too
It made me think. We don't take anything seriously here. Even a once distinguished event as the Inaugural Ball has turned into a Red Carpet affair. What is a true American tradition? I know we're the "Melting Pot," but can't we all agree on at least one thing to do together?
Wait! I know what our tradition is! It's something we do each and every time we see certain dates pop up on the calendar and we all participate in this American tradition:
We get drunk on American holidays.
Heck, we even get drunk on Irish and Mexican holidays, too! Cinco de Mayo is here. Although the Battle of Puebla isn't considered much of a holiday in Mexico, it is something celebrated by Americans despite the fact that most don't even know its meaning. Who cares? We're getting margaritas, right?
Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico's underdog win over the French forces on May 5th, 1862. It wasn't their Independence Day, it was a victory in a battle that many people think that they should have lost. Mexico celebrates their Independence Day on September 16th. That's the day that started the war when Mexican-born Spaniards and Native Americans kicked the heinies of Spain.
But, that doesn't matter to us. We're Americans, right? If Mexicans won't celebrate May 5th, then we will! And we'll say that we're honoring your heritage in the process, so it's win-win, right? As long as we can drink! ¿Dónde está mi cerveza?
New Year's Day, we drink. St. Patrick's Day, we get blitzed. Memorial Day, a holiday dedicated to the memory of U.S. Soldiers, but we barbecue and drink! Independence Day, barbecue and drink. Labor Day, watch college football and drink. Halloween, dress up and drink. Thanksgiving... Wait. That may be the only holiday where we don't get toasted. Christmas Eve, company parties, egg nog, and a whole lot of misteltoe.
I know I'm beating a dead horse at this point. You get where I'm going. I was actually jealous of the Royal Wedding. The only time we, as Americans, tend to come together as a country is when there is tragedy. It took 9/11 to scare us into unity. That fear kept us together for a long time. Osama bin Laden's death brought people back into unity, but I'll be doggone if less than six hours later people were on Facebook and Twitter arguing over who should get credit for it: Bush or Obama? The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina brought us together. Shortly afterwards, we're calling our own U.S. citizens "refugees" and pointing fingers at President Bush and blaming him for not knowing how to handle the nation's biggest natural disaster.
Sad. The concept of the Melting Pot is wonderful, but without long-standing traditions for all of us to embrace, will there ever be unity amongst us? We have recognized holidays from many nationalities and religions, but we need to actually learn what they are about. Let's do that instead of planning who will be the designated driver that weekend or who will bring the hot dogs. Maybe then, we'll have some unity.
Oh, wait! I DID think of a day where a majority of Americans come together for four hours: Super Bowl Sunday! Football and beer commercials! Guys chest-bumping each other and women holding empty mixed drink glasses screaming, "that's my jam!" to every song that comes on during halftime.
I guess I just can't get around the alcohol influence on our holidays. I just need to accept that beer is our tradition. Oh, well. That's better than nothing. I guess we do have unity after all! Suck it, England!