I grew up in the United States, in a prosperous and mainly white suburb of Chicago. In my formal schooling, both primary and secondary curriculums ensured that I was steeped in the canons of American Civics, American History and American Literature. On Saturday morning television, Schoolhouse Rock! cartoons reinforced the lessons with songs about the pilgrim settlers, the country’s westward expansion and how bills are passed in Congress. American flags flew everywhere: schools, public buildings, shopping plazas, office foyers and even in the front gardens of many homes. And every summer, our community celebrated the Fourth of July – Independence Day – with parades, local festivals and fireworks displays. The United States offers a prime example of national self-determination, national pride and national propaganda.
Scotland of course has its own unique history and national culture. I watch in fascination as history unfolds here in this country. A tremendous and vibrant grassroots movement for social change has eclipsed both official campaign programmes. Whatever result the referendum brings us, it will be laying down a chapter in the historical narrative of my adopted home.
I can’t help but consider some of the issues in light of the lessons I was taught about my country of origin, as a young American citizen. The next few posts are a series of reflections – not so much about Scotland per se, but perhaps with some connection to what is happening here this week.