Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Ramblings Post #336
I used to go to the best cookouts. Two hundred or so people, food that would run out in a half hour, a line for single bathroom, people drinking all the chaser for like no reason and girls who just needed someone to keep them occupied until the cute guys arrived. Ah, the memories. There really is something to growing up. 

The word fireworks doesn't quite cover it. The correct term is "munitions."

If there are any vets in my area who are suffering PTSD they have my deepest sympathies.

My neighbors really lit it up for the fourth. For a solid hour and a half they launched what must have been a lovely cross section of the entirety of the US military's impressive arsenal, the festivities sounding at times like a thunderstorm, then a volleys of gunfire (Steven Segal gunfire, not real gunfire), and having your position shelled.  Honest to god explosions. There is a scene in the movie Full Metal Jacket where the soldiers are resting in the bunker but the noise outside sounds funny, then suddenly they've grabbed their gear and are running as fast as they can for the slit trenches, preparing to lay down suppression fire. It was like that. My windows rattled.

When I wandered outside to see who was winning, the street was thick with the haze and smoke that comes from exploding a lot of things at the same time for a long time. And I think a few of the people had their displays set too low, as a few blooms went off while still below the tree line. Music was playing, in the dark children were granting them 'ooohs and aahhhs, and I could hear the yelling that comes from patriotic fervor, or too much alcohol  or a need for everyone to be impressed at their purchases. I went back into my house. I could still hear small explosions in the distance even after midnight as I tried to keep Vietnam movies from invading my dreams.

And I live in a pretty much all black neighborhood.

I've seen a lot of chatter online suggesting that the descendants of slaves (so, just to be simple - black people) shouldn't celebrate the 4th, because while the declaration did set off Brexit 1776, the notions espoused in it really didn't apply to everyone in that country yearning to be free. But then by that weird logic, the only people who should be celebrating it would be landowning white males, which would mean the way we celebrate would be the same - exploding things - but there would just be less demonstrations of patriotism.

Apparently women shouldn't celebrate, as they didn't get the basic benefits of being American, getting to own their own property or vote for 150 years after this grand declaration. And blacks faced  slavery and then legalized discrimination for the first 180 years since we pulled out of the BU, and things aren't so great now, so we have no reason to be happy either. In reality, when I think about it the words to "This land is my land, this land is your land" from my childhood, it really was more an expression of a idealized America, provided most of us stayed in our lane, than a realistic view of the United States. So, what exactly are we marginalized folks celebrating?

Well, for starters, I'm celebrating the country that I was born in, am a citizen of and that I live in. No, I'm not a closet nationalist or whatever term they're using these days (collaborator?), and although this country still has its many faults, problems and shortcomings* if you're not a landowning white male, it is still a fairly decent place to be in a world still rife with problems common sense should have handled years ago. I'm not necessarily celebrating America as it is today, but that idealized version of America I thought we'd have when I was a kid.

That I even have to explain this strikes me as odd now. Even those who are theoretically on the same side are so divided in their thinking.

Barkeep. A beer. Cold. No, it's just beer, it really doesn't matter.

*Faults and shortcomings being almost too many mention, including racism, sexism, injustice, poverty and the need to put cheese on everything. 

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