This has never been my favorite holiday. Maybe it was my dislike of large group picnics. I don't know. I know I have enjoyed some individual 4ths, but not all of them. Maybe it is because the dogs never enjoy the noise.
I remember the first summer we had Streak. Anglican's apartment had a great view of the fireworks, so we all went down there to watch, and I brought this little dog who had adopted us. He was so scared. He spent the entire fireworks with his head under my arm. Damn I miss him. I am watching my thumbnail grow out with a little sadness. He bit me during a treatment and the mark is just about gone. That has been a pretty steady reminder, though I know I don't need that to remember him. But it is still sad.
We have tried to rehabilitate this weekend, mostly by trying to spend it with friends. Last night we had a couple over and tonight we head to more friends. That will be good.
I think I have always struggled with the patriotism part. I get loving your country. I just am not sure what to think about people loving it in such an angry and hateful way. I read this week about a congressman from Georgia who said that he would do anything "short of shooting them" when he saw illegal immigrants. I suspect he sees himself as an uber patriot. As do most conservatives.
Yet, it makes me feel a little ill. And the conservative war on people continues. Minnesota has shut down state offices (non essential) primarily because Republicans refuse to raise taxes on anyone. That makes no sense to me, but those Republicans will tell me that they believe in freedom and that they are patriots.
And I read that across the country, not only are women seeing abortion outlawed, but states are starting to criminalize any kind of miscarriage. I get the opposition to abortion, but this is going a step beyond. And what amazes me about this kind of law, is that I am pretty sure that the upper middle class white wife will not have her miscarriage questioned. I am pretty confident of that. If that is small-government, then I have to just throw up my hands. That is fascism. That is what a totalitarian state does--not one that preaches freedom.
I do love this country. I refuse to wave a flag and won't put one up on the house. But I have deep respect for our country's history and actual freedoms. I still consider our constitution a brilliant document. I believe our system is amazing, and one way it has proven that is how much expansion and access we have added since the original document. I believe in what Herbert Croly called "the promise of American life." But I don't see it in conservative thought today. All I see is hate and bigotry and stupidity.
We can do better. On this 4th, I will remember my friend Streak, and I will think of all my friends and family around the country and here in town. I will think of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for us, and for those others who have stood up for the least of these here at home.