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here's to liberty?

Here's to liberty?

In years past, all patriotic meaning had been stripped from the Fourth of July. As with almost all American holidays, it had become a day for feasting, for picnics and barbecues, for BIG SALES! at malls. You could get an air conditioner real cheap around this time of year.

For a kid, the day was more about bottle rockets and sparklers and the pretty show in the night sky. For dogs, it was about hiding under the bed every time another mat of firecrackers went off down the block.

For me, it was about my grandfather's birthday and huge parties and illegal fireworks set to explode as soon as it got dark. I don't think anyone ever really thought about the independence of our country while they were flipping burgers or doing cannonballs into the pool or singing Jimmy Rosselli songs with their grandfather, drunk on his wine. Maybe that year of the bicentennial, when everyone waved their flags and remembered the Revolutionary War and watched 1776 on tv.

Blind patriotism has been around since last fall. Flags have been waving from homes and cars for ten months now and ironically, I am thinking about lack of independence this year. I'm thinking about watchful eyes and stripped rights and one nation under surveillance. Bring on the fireworks, bring on the sales and burgers and beer. It's better than thinking about the state of the world.

July 4, 1983. Dave Righetti pitches a no-hitter against the Red Sox.

July 4, 1985. We stay up til all hours of the morning watching the Mets and Braves play 19 innings of baseball. It was about 3am by the time the Mets won the game 16-13.

July 4, 1995. Natalie has chicken pox.

Independence Day is also another holiday (much like Halloween) when I want to kill my neighbors. How's that for a patriotic attitude? Can someone please explain to me the thrill in lighting off a mat of fireworks? They don't look pretty, they make a lot of noise and I can't see what you get out of it, except annoying the piss out of me and making me want to come over there and bash your fucking head in.

Pretty fireworks, I love. Nice colors, intricate designs, the sky lit up like a Lite Brite. Everyone sits on the front lawn as the patriotic, lawful townfolk begin to light up their unlawful Roman Candles and fountain explosives. But plain old firecrackers? They drive me bezerk. And it's already started. Morning, noon and night, the boomboomboom of another mat of gunpowder, and it stops being boomboomboom after a while and I hear killkillkill instead and I have to be held back from going over to my neighbor's house and shoving those firecrackers down his throat while I sing America the Beautiful.

So yea, July 4th is about freedom. Your freedom to make a whole lot of unecessary noise and my freedom to kill you over it. Hey, if everyone else can interpret the constitution the way they see fit, so can I.

So here's to kicking off a week of sales, surveillance and sizzling burgers. Here's to dire warnings, unsubstantiated threats and looking over our shoulders. Here's to being careful what you say and how you look and black army helicopters flying overhead. Here's to being in the minority and peeing in a cup and broad use of the word patriot.

Most of all, here's to living in a country where I can say these things freely.

I still can, can't I?

Comments

coughs

It's a good thing I didn't grow up in Micheleland then, as we would have undoubtedly been neighbours you might have wanted to kill. :)

My dad used to make fireworks with me and my siblings. Nothing fancy of course. We didn't have the materials to make terribly fancy ones, but we used to make little cone fireworks that shot off a fountain of white and gold sparks. And Daddy was always making little firecrackers that would go off with a boom. And all the neighbourhood windows would rattle. (Most of the time we were very good and quiet neighbours though.)

"Blind patriotism has been around since last fall" Please don't say that. Waving (and wearing and eating off, etc)flags is NOT patriotism. It's like saying wearing a big red heart is love.

Patriotism is working and behaving in ways that benefit your country. It's acting honestly and honorably in business (can you say Enron, Xerox, Worldcom and Martha Stewart?) and in daily activities. It's trying to insure slightly more equality of opportunity for a quality life--for everyone.

I may not agree with a lot of things the Shrub says, but he is right on about giving of your time for community betterment. Something like his daddy's Points of Light.

I don't see flag-waving as accomplishing much of anything concrete. (And back with the Gulf war, I saw pep rallies as totally pointless.) Where is the sense of giving of yourself to your country?

Your neighbors must be related to my neighbors ;)They started last night with firecrackers and bottle rockets. We called the cops at about 11 PM. The houses in my neighborhood are way too close together to be shooting small explosives around in the air.

shit in a bag