the fourth of july
I grew up with celebrations every Fourth of July. Celebrations for a country’s independence, marked by a day when kids ate hot dogs and adults drank beer and everyone got a day off work or school and got too much sun and ate too much potato salad and waved sparklers and watched fireworks and everyone had one hell of a good time. And that is what that day meant to me — when I was a child.
Today I am an adult. Today I know what this day is supposed to stand for. And, I am not so sure we should be celebrating independence in my country. Or freedom. Or the land of the brave or the home of the free. Because I look around me and I see none of those things.
I see men in power who build walls to keep neighboring peoples out, who send young men and women to battle to enforce democracy, [if enforced democracy is not an oxymoron I do not know what is], men in power who take the names of God and country and family in vain every day to promote hate, division, bloodshed. Men in power who publicly endorse torture. [When did that get taught in Sunday school?] And no one speaks out. No one says no. Because the people of my country are not the brave. The people of my country are afraid. And who can blame them? When one out of every one hundred Americans is incarcerated. And new prisons are built every day.