Not Much Different Than Last Year
So it's the Fourth of July once again. Cookouts . . . Beer . . . Swimming pools . . . Fireworks . . . Oh yeah, and a celebration of what the United States of America stands for.
While our "forefathers" may have had lofty intentions (and I'm not even going to open that can of worms today) - that vision is certainly not being honored today.
We are currently under the rule of a president and vice president (an entire administration!) who believe that they are above the law in any and all circumstances.
We are living under tyrants who give tax benefits and subsidies to corporations and wealthy families with more money than they will ever be able to spend while the middle and working classes struggle to get by on their (VERY) minimum, non-living wage paying jobs.
We are living under a U.S. Supreme Court that has the power to tell us that when we find out our minimum wage paying jobs are paying us even less than our male or white co-workers holding the same position, we only have 180 days to make a claim of discrimination if we expect compensation.
We are still engaged in a war that continues to murder hundreds of people every month, military and civilian alike, with no real plan for containing the violence, putting an end to it or even withdrawing altogether. Meanwhile, our fearless leaders are puffing out their chests and talking about doing whatever is necessary and that military action is "not off the table" in an effort to stare down other perceived threats (read Iran).
All in all this year's Fourth of July looks pretty much like the last few - not a lot to celebrate. While I am appreciative of what I have because of where I live I do not believe that we as Americans, and especially as a nation, are living up to our potential. We have a lot of problems and it's time to stop sweeping them under the rug of patriotism and "we're flawed, but . . ."
I believe this Independence Day is not just an opportunity to eat some juicy burgers and watch fireworks. I think it's time that as Americans we do some thinking about which direction we want our country to head. That we consider what we want our image to convey to the rest of the world.
I think it's time to stop thumping about tradition and patriotism and the old Red, White and Blue and start living up to the image of a country that believes in freedom for its citizens in a democracy that doesn't just serve those with the most money.
I would also suggest checking out this great essay by one of my favorite writers and historians, Howard Zinn. I cited the article last year and I will point you to it again. It's short. It's strong. And it's just as accurate today as it was last year.