The 4th of July. America’s birthday. This is the day we are supposed to get all Pollyannaish about the state of our Republic and wax, “Golly, aren’t we swell?” in spite of everything, right? Grill a wiener? Drink a case of watery beer? Get sunburned and piss in your brother-in-law’s pool and blame it on your niece? Possibly, but I can’t get there, not this year.
Consider our reality. America is the laughing stock of the world. It would be comical how inept our current administration is if it weren’t so damn dangerous. Decades of social and environmental progress is being attacked and rolled back daily … if not hourly. Our government continues to wage war on the poorest people of the globe, only now we’ve upped the ante to include those folks who live here too (overtly, anyway; this class war in America has been going on a long time, it’s just out in the open now). Given the rumblings coming out of the twitter account of our Toddler-in-Chief, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the more violent aspects of that assault become even more lethal at home. I mean the inclusion of poor white people in the carnage, of course, as the smoking guns of law enforcement have been aimed at our black and brown neighbors bloodily and efficiently since all those founding white dudes first broke away from the royal We 241 years ago.
The notion of this holiday being a celebration of independence is particularly laughable. The vast majority of us are more deeply enslaved every year to a system where hard work and responsibility only helps shovel more wealth to the fortunate few and does nothing to protect us from the cruel lottery of unexpected illness or hardship. For all the talk of bootstraps and opportunity, unless you are white, male, and straight, your choices are extremely limited.
And the current dudes doing all this? We put them there. Gave them their power. Turned them lose on us. From my desk I can see a couple a couple neighbors out in the street leaning against their trucks talking to each other. From the stickers I saw on their rigs during the election cycle I’m pretty certain how they voted. I’m supposed to celebrate in common with them? How? What?
Yeah, I’m pissing and moaning. I feel surly. The summer is really starting to swelter these days, and that makes for my least favorite time of year. I’ve always hated the 4th, and it’s only getting worse. The meatheads in and around whatever neighborhood I happen to live in have eternally cranked up their noisy fireworks several days before the 4th and kept at it for a few days after. It makes me seethe. It is a perfect indictment of American intelligence: let’s launch a bunch of cheap, paper missiles showering sparks into our surroundings, where the tall, dry grasses of summer are just aching to chemically transform everything to ash. Fire’s always awesome so long as it’s someone else’s acreage belching smoke, right?
I’m a bitter, hopeless, hateful man these days. But happy 4th anyway. Perhaps somebody’s god will choose to bless this cesspool of a country. None of my small ones are going to.