Tomorrow I will uncork an expensive wine and toast my American friends and readers. When drinking and playing loud music is in the cards, I could celebrate the national day of Ethiopia, but the truth is that after Columbus Day — for obvious reasons — the second day I celebrate the most is the United States’ Independence Day. And I celebrate today, because from being a Christian, I have learned that the party can start the day before (this is one of the reasons I will never be able to sympathize with the Koran; I admit that wine, ham, and the faces of pretty girls are other compelling reasons).
Somewhere I read that to love someone is to celebrate their birth. In a way, to love a country is also to rejoice in the day it was formed. So let’s raise our glasses, toast, drink, and throw the bottle through the windows of the Oval Office. Fear not. Confused old Biden will just mumble something about it looking as if someone dropped a contact lens. And also, let me clarify, I was joking: the last thing I want is to relive the collective debauchery of Jan. 6 and have all the TV stations insinuating that we conservatives follow an idiot wearing Viking horns again.
Between work, art, and bohemian life, behind every great dream, America emerges, majestic and simple. That is why I toast today.
Generally, I don’t believe in people who madly love ideas, objects, or bank accounts. But I do believe in those who love a homeland, a country, and what it represents, even if it is not their own. You see, I was born in beautiful Spain, but I also dream of retiring in Italian Tuscany, I hope to be reborn every morning in the United States, and I want to drink tequila, at least once, in the Mexican cantinas of José Alfredo Jiménez and sing rancheras in the ear of a young girl with dark complexion and long braids. In my experience, between work, art, and bohemian life, behind every great dream, America emerges, majestic and simple. That is why I toast today. Because every year there are more and more ties that bind me to the blessed American land, and every day I feel more identified with everything that its flag represents — from freedom to property — which in a way brings together what Old Europe has not been able to preserve without selling out. My theory (may my theologian friends forgive me for this improvisation) is that God dreams of reigning again in Europe, yes, but in the meantime he is happy to receive comfort and care in the United States.
Besides, almost all the things I like that are not Spanish are American. Low taxes. Big cars. Voluptuous blondes on Palm Beach. John Ford and Frank Capra. Anything written by P. J. O’Rourke. Car-sized ice cubes. James Stewart movies. The ideas of William F. Buckley Jr. The music of the Blues Brothers. The books of Dave Barry. The Westerns of John Wayne. The Armed Forces. The American Spectator. God-fearing politicians. Shirley MacLaine’s smile. The chance of a fresh start. Walter Matthau’s face. Hospitality. The love of the flag. The skyline of big cities. The readers who write to you, buy from you, and love you. The chronicles of Hunter S. Thompson. Autumn in the countryside. Rum and Coke. Double-decker burgers. Conservative think tanks. The aesthetics of the West. Distrust of government. All the episodes of The A-Team. The prom. Scarlett Johansson. The First Amendment.
The list is endless. But it would need certain nuances. Because from America I also like, I don’t know, Tomahawk missiles, and this could scandalize the whole of Europe, idiotized by social democratic moderation. And then I would have to add that I like Tomahawks when they are well directed. You know how P. G. Wodehouse said that an apple a day, if well aimed, keeps the doctor away. My theory is that a Tomahawk a year, if well directed, keeps the idiots away.
For some time now, I have been writing more and more in the American press and less and less in the Spanish press. I did not see this coming. A literary life is an overflowing river. You can’t know which house it will flood. But be that as it may, I gratefully celebrate the hospitality my dear American readers show to this humble — and nonetheless utterly arrogant — Spanish writer, who tries every week to wrench a smile from you, or plant an idea in your pocket, or make you fall a little more in love with life, or arouse your lips to whisper a sincere prayer to the good Lord. For all of you, and for all the Americans who yesterday and today have contributed to making the world a better place to live in, on the eve of the Fourth of July, I raise my glass (for the 10th time so far in this article), and, while trying to avoid staggering and causing a scene, I exclaim with a commanding tone of voice and a joyful soul: God bless the United States of America!
Itxu Díaz is a Spanish journalist, political satirist and author. He has written nine books on topics as diverse as politics, music, and smart appliances. He is a contributor to the Daily Beast, the Daily Caller, National Review, the American Conservative, The American Spectator, and Diario Las Américas in the United States, and is a columnist for several Spanish magazines and newspapers. He was also an adviser to the Ministry for Education, Culture, and Sports in Spain. Follow him on Twitter at @itxudiaz or visit his website: www.itxudiaz.com.
Translated by Joel Dalmau