When I was younger, Independence Day was my favorite holiday of the year. I loved everything about it. I’d ride my summer high, tan from the month of June and sweating out July, riding my bike around the neighborhood, eating grilled hot dogs and watermelon and potato salad. I remember celebrating my grandmother’s birthday the day before. They called her the "firecracker that went off early". Lighting fireworks had been the best part. I remember when we went to Colorado one summer and my dad and my grandpa bought fireworks in Wyoming. Tons of fireworks: jumping jacks, bottle rockets, firecrackers, Saturn missiles. We’d watch the fireworks in my hometown in Kenosha. Half the town would gather by the Lake Michigan Beaches, spread out their blankets and towels and wait until dusk for the fireworks display. I remember playing at the park by the beach with my sister, our shoes filled with sand. We stood on the highest part of the playground we called the "bird’s nest" and watched the colorful display of red, white and blue.
I think I loved Independence Day because at the time, I could relate it to my own independence of my childhood. My own naivety of what the holiday meant.
When we’re young we’re fed this garbage of what it means to be patriotic and that it’s our duty as true American citizens to respect our country that has done so much for us. We should be proud to be an American. We should be blessed for the opportunities we have compared to other countries. I’m sorry, but where are these opportunities? What am I blessed for? We have people in this country who can't afford higher education or health care because they're working three part-time jobs to make ends meet. We have people afraid that they won't be allowed back into the country because of their religion. We have people who are afraid to get pulled over by a police officer only to get shot. We have people who have to hide their sexuality or gender identity because some businesses can refuse to hire them. But it’s like, if I don’t wear the American flag proudly on my body, I’m just not loving this country enough.
Let’s be honest. America has never been free for everyone. We pushed this propaganda on other countries proving we were strong and awesome and great. We would spread our bald eagle wings all across the world with our imperialism claiming we’re fantastic and you should totally be happy we’re taking over your country and crushing your culture because ours is better, you know it’s better. It is better. Don't deny it or we'll kill you. Then at the same time, we wondered why so many immigrants are coming to this country of all places. Now they’re bringing their non-american traditions and we can’t have that. We Americanized immigrants. How creepy is that? We had these ideas of what America was and honestly if it wasn’t the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant image, I don’t know what it was then. Or what people think it is now. I have a really hard time celebrating the birth of a nation built on genocide and slavery.If I'm so blessed, then please explain why people who are American citizens have to be stopped because they look like they might be an illegal immigrant?. And why do poor people get denied good education, decent food, good health care? And why a country that’s so free has the largest number of people incarcerated in federal prison compared to any other country?
The older I get, the more I dislike this holiday. The more I realize, you know what, I could have barbeque and light fireworks any other time of the year and I’ll probably enjoy it more. Just kidding, our country is so free that there’s states where it’s illegal to buy fireworks and illegal in most places to shoot them off. So much for that.
This year is probably the most negative I’ve ever felt about this country. I don’t even know if I want to observe this holiday this year. Or should this year's independence day be a day of mourning for a country that’s gone down the drain. I don’t really mean just because of this election, but the slow burning dumpster fire that america has been going throw. I’ll say this a million times, but I feel like a roman watching the fall of the roman empire and all I can say to that is, “Happy Independence Day. This might be our last one.”