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My Disillusionment with the Fourth of July

An essay on the futileness of celebrating Independence Day on July 4th

Why disillusionment, you say?

I have to admit, I have never been very patriotic.

My parents are immigrants (citizens, yes, but not born on US soil, like myself) and it was never that big of a deal to them. Sure, we’d go on the occasional BBQ and have sparklers and firecrackers (when they were legal in NY, anyway…) and watch the fireworks Macy’s hosted every damn year since the beginning of time.

But the true spirit of the holiday? Never felt it.

I never felt the need to dress up in red/white/blue, never felt the need to celebrate the birthday of a country (a COUNTRY, for Pete’s sake). It was always just another day for me.

But more than ever, I feel no need to have celebrated the Fourth.

There are three reasons why I feel the way I do:

Reason #1: This country was not officially independent on the 4th of July.

A lot of people don’t realize, but the US did NOT officially become a country on the 4th. It’s just when Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. The US fought a long, nasty war, and then the Brits surrendered on September 3, 1783 (y’know, when the Treaty of Paris was written?) then the US was independent.

Not only that, but the Declaration wasn’t even ratified (e.g. signed by people other than Jefferson) until August of 1776. And according to Wikipedia, ”…at the time the Declaration was issued, the American colonies were "united" in declaring their independence from Great Britain, but were not yet declaring themselves to be a single nation”. But that is such a broad statement, and they did not say whether they were talking of when Jefferson wrote it, or when it was ratified.

My guess is they didn’t want to have it in August or September (because a lot of people go back to school those months. Besides, there‘s already Labor Day in September!) and they figured, “well, there are no holidays in July, (and Jefferson wrote the Declaration in July!) Brilliant! Let’s give the banks another convenient excuse to close in the middle of the week and stick Independence Day here!

Reason #2: Is the US truly “free“?

(this is a two-part reason)

Part one:

As a “young” country, the “leader of the Free World”, are they really, truly free?

Is anything or anyone truly free?

Look at America’s track record: Whenever there’s a world situation that threatens “Democracy” (or any other sacred American ideals; e.g. interests) who’s the first to jump into the fray?

America.

Do you need a list of examples?

World War 2

Korean War

Vietnam

Bay of Pigs

The Cold War (yes, it counts)

Operation Desert Storm

The “War on Terrorism”

And the list goes on.

If the U.S were really free, would they be jumping into things that don’t directly concern them? Like Cuba for example. I really don’t see how Cuba being communist is, was, or has been a threat to the US. It’s a tiny island off of Florida which is no bigger than NYC. What the hell would their being communist do to the US? Or of North Korea being communist? Or of any other country? If they want to be communist, leave them the hell alone, is what I say.

And I could already hear people saying stuff like: the Communists treat their people bad, etc. Please. What did the US do to help South Africa when they were under Apartheid? Or Rwanda? Or Armenia?

Part Two

In a country where we are supposed to be free, are we really?

If, in the says of The Patriot Act and other nonsensical laws/rules and other dichotomous things, can we consider ourselves free? When your phone lines are bugged and your emails read (and it’s perfectly legal) are we free? If you check out a book from the library that is suspicious, and the CIA rolls by your house and trash it/disappear you, are we free? In a country where if you speak out against the President/War, you’re considered a “terrorist”, are you really free? In a country that was based upon a “Bill of Rights” which has all but been permanently suspended, are we truly free?

That is something to think about, after the charcoal dies down, and the Dixie plates are thrown away. When we get back to our normal 9-to-5’s and our everyday lives… a country who prides themselves on freedom (was founded on it, no less) and who can take those said freedoms away in a heartbeat, can they truly call themselves free?

Reason #3: Iraq

Now, Iraq is a reason all by itself. As long as we have militia over there, they are not free. As long as we baby them and never let them make any kind of decision for themselves they will never be free. If they are having “free elections” why are our troops over there watching everything like a hawk? Their “elected” leaders responsibility is to step up to the plate and take care of their country. US troops should have left Iraq a long time ago. (never should have went in the first place, but what’s done is done).

How can we selfishly celebrate freedom when we have unofficially declared martial law in the name of “democracy” in another country?

How can we celebrate freedom when so many of our brothers, fathers, mothers, sisters, wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends are in perpetual danger (in the name of freedom, no less) and are dying off everyday? And for what?

If that is what freedom is these days, we have come a long way from 1783, and I want no part of it.

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