Monday, July 4, 2011

Born in the USA

I know as I’m writing this, Space 7 is cruising around the park on his pink trike which is decorated to the hilt with red, white, and blue streamers and glitter stars. He’s stopping in front of every unit that has kids and taking the rugrats on free rides in honor of the fourth. Pinky’s a cool cat.

It’s been decades since I enjoyed a Fourth of July. I remember as a kid loving
the annual outing to the Ventura County Fairgrounds, spreading our blanket, squishing in between the masses of Venturians who, with tilted heads and ostrich necks would stare open-mouthed at the blackened sky as it lit up with splashes of yellows and greens, with streaks of reds, whites and blues.


Fireworks are everything to a kid and quite frankly there are not too many things, even to this day, that bring me to those “Ooohs” and “Ahhhs” with quite the same momentous intensity. (Well, actually, I can think of a ‘handful’ of other things…)
But comrades, the Independence Day celebration, the patriotic reason to eat pounds of nitrates stuffed in buns, buy 12-packs at blockbuster prices, and watch hundreds of women strut around in embroidered flag sweatsuits with matching earrings just doesn’t float my canoe any more and I’ll tell you why…

Because I know the truth.
I started thinking too much about it in the early 80’s. When I wasn’t cutting class, or drinking Slow-Gin Fizzes, I was starting to read and listen and hang out with some WikiLeak types. I became a Gator at San Francisco State University and had my eyes pried open to all the missing events and factual accounts of our history, religion and politics that had been intentionally deleted from our textbooks. Holla!

It's easier to not think about it too much, not speak about it too much,
and just buy a 3.99 lawn chair at Walgreens where, with your purchase, they’ll give you a 10-inch American flag on a stick to wave.
It’s much easier to just, unfold your chair, laugh at all the ridiculous jokes around you, eat a hot dog or two, pound a beer, sing a couple bars of The Star Spangled Banner and watch the damn fireworks!
But if you read too much or ask too many questions, if you’re one of those weirdoes like me that is curious about what’s between the lines, you begin to see a very sick and demented pattern:
a pattern that extends across every border and is the true history of every single nation on the planet. Every nation that exists today declares its current independence on the backs of another whom they have destroyed, controlled or stolen from. And if you think otherwise, you probably also enjoy watching Teletubbies on Saturday mornings.
There is not a nation that exists today that has ever gained its independence through compassionate decision-making, compromise and negotiation, and certainly this is true of the USA. Just ask a Cherokee or other indigenous people if you can find any.

There are numerous songs and anthems paying tribute to our nation’s collective history but none say it quite like Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA.
It reminds us, though war is futile and meaningless, those who give their lives to fight it are not.
But rather than escort you down that bleak, dark, pungent septic hole, I’ve decided to offer up a few gifts by a few greats; with the hope of making something beautiful out of something quite ugly…

Happy Fourth my chums!

If crime fighters fight crime, and firefighters fight fire, then what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that to us, do they? ~George Carlin

You have to love a nation that celebrates its Independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.

~Erma Bombeck

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.

~George Bernard Shaw

He gave me a copy of The Declaration of Independence, then he got a tattoo that says Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death. I think my boyfriend wants his freedom. 
~The Better Half cartoon by Randy Glasbergen

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