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In Search of a Reason to Celebrate

This is Independence Day here in the US. Most just call it the Fourth of July, like we own that particular spot on the calendar.

Regardless of how we might want to co-opt exclusive use of the date, I’m pretty sure the rest of the world is largely ignoring us today and going about their usual business.

I am doing the same. And, if you believe a recent story in the New York Times, I’m not alone.

Whether because of crowds, politics or a loss of patriotism, some Americans… especially younger people, are rethinking whether they want to celebrate Independence Day. A survey by YouGov found that 56 percent of American adults planned to join in the festivities this year.

Reading that article reminded me of David Letterman. Yes, I’m weird, but there is a connection.

Every year on or around this date, Letterman would offer some variation on this joke in his opening monologue: “The Fourth of July combines American’s two favorite pastimes: drinking and blowing stuff up.”.

It’s funny because it’s true, although I’m not a fan of either.

I also don’t enjoy the aggressive, somewhat militaristic, patriotism that seems to accompany this holiday. And, if we’re being honest, most of the other federal holidays.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t have a day to celebrate the founders of this country. Even include the extensive mythology about the people and events that have been built constructed around them over the decades since 1776.

However, while the rich white men who wrote the Declaration of Independence, and later the Constitution, did a good job of laying the foundation for governing this country, they were not perfect in that work.

They made mistakes in those original plans, errors that many members of later generations have worked tirelessly to correct. Working to move the country forward despite opposition from “originalists” who insist on treating the founding documents like some kind of unyielding bible and the founders like philosophical gods.

As to the “blowing stuff up” part, I guess fireworks displays are pretty, at least the first few times you see them. They’re also loud, make the area smoky and smelly (like the wildfires in Canada aren’t doing enough of that), and seem like a big waste of resources. Their connection to Independence Day seems to be a little tenuous since they get used for lots of other events.

Anyway, whether you’re celebrating the 4th or not, I hope your day is a good one. Sorry for being such a party pooper.

Some cities are replacing the traditional rocket-launched fireworks displays with drone shows, like the one shown above in Salt Lake City. No pollution or incidental wildfires and cheaper in the long run since drones can be reused. I’m sure many will complain about the lack of booms but your pets probably won’t. And neither will I.

1 Comment

  1. Jim

    That’s not party poopin that’s just facts. I don’t mind the big firework shows. I just folks around here would watch those on tv so I didn’t have to hide in the basement with skittish pups. Hope you’re having a great summer.

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