Last night was very long here, folks. As I sip my coffee, I’m assaulted by the acrid tang of sulfur which lingers heavily in the morning fog. Though the crashes and bangs that rang out into the wee hours are now blessedly silent, the echoes remain in the hearts and minds of those who bore witness, and those who desperately tried not to see or hear. The sun will rise and shine upon the fallout, highlighting the casings and burnt shells that undoubtedly pepper the land.
All over the nation this morning (or afternoon…yeah, probably afternoon for many), folks will rise, rub the grit from their bloodshot eyes, hydrate and carb-load like a champ, and prepare to jump into the fray once more.
Because four score and 159 years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. And if that’s not a reason to have a national weekend of partying, revelry, and tomfoolery, well then, I just don’t know what is.
Yep, it’s that day when we get to shoot colorful chemicals in the sky to celebrate kicking lily white asses back across the pond. It’s Independence Day!
I love the 4th of July.
And I don’t just mean that I live having a weekend of pop-bang-whizzy-bam, though regular readers of this blog will no doubt remember my fondness for the temporary tattoos of the sky. I love the day itself, the history, the connection.
When we were kids, the 4th meant camping. Fireworks. Fireworks while camping. Family. Picnics. Sand between the toes and lake water dreadlocks that dried in the sun. To a kid, that is the very definition of freedom.
As an adult, the meaning of Independence Day gives so much more depth to the holiday. We had enough bullshit, we drew the line, and we established our own nation. That kicks ass. Of course I’ll wave a flag! Who wouldn’t? A great thing about the 4th is that no matter your party affiliation, EVERYONE gets to be a crazed pro-‘Merican without repercussion or derision. How can that NOT be fantastic?
“Hello! I heard you talking about political parties, and I thought this would be an excellent time to pop in and tell your…”
Whoa. Hold the phone. What are you doing here, Christie?
“I’m letting your friends know that I’m running for the President of the United States of America!”
No. No no no. I did a candidate introduction weeks ago.
“I wasn’t running then.”
It’s not my fault you couldn’t make up your mind in time for this to hit the press. You missed your chance. Besides, it’s a holiday, not a time for you to campaign.
Nope. Not going to happen. If you’d like to hang around for the party, there are refreshments on the corner table and you’re more than welcome to celebrate with us. But you open your mouth to try and stump up some votes, and I’ll put you in a red coat with a “King George” name tag and you’ll find out how well that goes over in THIS crowd on the Fourth of July!
*sigh* And stop moping.
Sorry, folks. I swear I had no idea he was going to do this. I wanted this post to be free from politics…modern day politics, that is. I know the problems of this nation are important and they won’t be fixed by ignoring them. But is it really unreasonable to ask that…
…*looks left* *looks right*…
“It’s me! Your friend Bobby Jindal!”
Uh…do I know you?
“Of course you know me. Bobby Jindal. I’m running for president!”
Oh boy, not another one. Look Bob, we’re trying to…
“It’s Bobby. Come on, you know me. I have a presidential campaign bumper sticker. You MUST have seen one of them.”
Can’t say that I have, but that’s neither here nor there. You’re interrupting what is attempting to be a patriotic musing to go with morning coffee.
“I love patriotism! And I heard you mention the problems in this country. If you give me just a moment of your time, I can solve them all.”
*rolly eyes* Bob. You seem like a nice guy, but there’s no way in hell you can solve all the nation’s problems. No one person can. And we’re not even talking about that today anyway. Now, if you’d like some America-themed refreshments, you can stick around and have some.
“Splendid! I love America-themed refreshments! However, did you know that many of these American treats are actually shipped in from other countries? Canadian hands are making the wheat for your red, white and blue cake. Our jobs….”
“…are being sent overseas, and you’re supporting these companies all while you claim to want to celebrate our nation.”
“Now, I don’t blame you. How could you know? That’s the issue we really face in this nation today. Obamawashing of…”
OKAY THAT’S IT. I’m sorry Bob, but you’re a pill. There’s the door. Don’t let it hit you in the ass on the way out.
“What? You’re kicking me out!?”
I warned you. I told you I didn’t want your politicking today, and you wouldn’t listen.
“But Christie’s up there!”
And Chris is following the guidelines. He’s sitting there in the corner drinking his coffee and BLUEberry muffin in the firework tiara and red 2015 sunglasses like he’s supposed to.
“I can do that too!”
You had your chance and you blew it.
“*sniff* Fine. I’ll just leave some campaign pins…”
Yikes. And zip it, Christie. Not ONE word or you follow.
*quiet munching of patriotic muffins*
Okay. Any more interruptions? No? Good. Now, where was I?
Oh, yes. I was talking about wanting one day to be patriotic without having it crammed down our throats that we have problems. I get it, folks. I get that right now we’re a seething cauldron of problems and good intentions gone awry.
But what’s wrong with everyone just putting it all aside for ONE DAY, hoisting the one beautiful flag, and enjoying being a member of this melting pot? Donald Trump went on another rampage yesterday…
Whoa, easy there, Chris. He’s not here. Relax.
“But…but…is he going to be?”
“…are you sure?”
Stop peeking out from behind the curtain and sit back down. I didn’t mean to get you all verklempt. Deep breath, Relax. Easy boy.
“O…okay…I just…it’s just one of my triggers.”
I think we all feel the same, but jeez. Jumpy little bugger, aren’t you?
I just said Tr…uh…He Who Must Not Be Named to highlight my point. Some people take today to be a day of telling us what a shit hole we’re in. They think that by doing it, we’ll vote for them. I don’t know why. I don’t know what’s going on under Mr. Who Must Not Be Named’s comb-over. My guess would be “not much”, because I have to be honest. If any candidate is going to get a nod from me today, it’s the one that stands tallest and proudest under the stars and stripes. It’s the one that’s just as proud to be part of this big old problem as I am.
Look folks. I bitch about this country a lot. Not as much as some, and I certainly never feel like it’s hopeless. I bitch because I’m part of it, and I love it, and I want to see it better. That doesn’t mean that I’m not patriotic.
I have a saying I tell my kids when they’re in trouble. I say, “I’m yelling at you because I love you and I want you to be a good person. If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t take the time to care about how you turn out.”
I love this country. And I care about it enough to be upset when things are going wrong. So it’s not that I don’t want things fixed, or am too blindly patriotic and believe we’re perfect.
But one day. That’s what I want.
No, wait. It’s more than that. I fully believe that it’s what we all deserve. One day to simply wave our flag and be proud. We’ve got problems. We also do a whole lot right. Most of our people have food, hot water, access to medical care, even if it’s pricey. We’ve got roads through the entire country, and enough public transportation that we don’t have to cram people ten deep and five high on the train. Very few people are homeless per capita, and there are even services run by good and noble citizens to help many of those. When there’s a crisis, we come together. When there’s a natural disaster, neighbors help each other out.
Are we perfect? Hell no! Can I just be happy with the good stuff for ONE DAY?
We’re worth fixing, America. We’re also worth celebrating. For all our faults and flaws, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
Everyone always quotes the beginning of the Declaration of Independence. I can’t say that I blame them. It gets a bit wordy and boring in the middle, so the eyes tend to take in that impressive preamble and then scan down to see that John Hancock was, indeed, quite full of himself. But a lot of cool stuff happens at the end. In fact, it’s my favorite passage in our Big Three governmental documents (Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights). It’s got some grammatical issues, and I don’t know if the rampant use of commas was a time period thing or if they just felt adding in a ton of extras gave an air of importance… All that aside, this is what founded our nation.
“We, therefore, the representatives of the united States of America, in general congress, assembled, appealing to the supreme judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states;”
In modern terms: Piss off, Brits. We got this.
And you know what? In spite of our problems, I truly believe we still do.
Thus concludes a patriotic Musing for Saturday, July the Freakin’ 4th, 2015. I hope all my fellow Americans have a good day today…and remember, any is too many. If you enjoy your right to booze it up in celebration, take advantage of your buddy’s couch!