It does me well to remember, now that the Fourth of July is here and all the banners and colors are in evidence, just what the observance is supposed to be for.
The Fourth of July is not the day the Constitution was signed or ratified.
It's not even when the Bill of Rights (and with it the legitimacy of the Constitution) was ratified.
It has nothing--nothing--to do with self-congratulatory, chest-thumping military displays.
It has nothing to do with any sort of flag.
It has nothing to do with faithfulness or loyalty to your government.
In fact, if you read the document that the Fourth actually celebrates, you find some interesting things, including:
- This is about declaring that a people are ultimately independent from, and therefore above, their government.
- This is about declaring the right to revolt against a government that has stopped representing its people.
- This is about people willing to stand up and become military targets of their own government.
And we celebrate the Fourth of July today, not only because they stood up and said, "we've had enough of your abuses and are no longer subject to your rule", but then had the moxie to fight back when George called them on it.
Think about that. These people opened fire on their own government, when said government came to take away their stockpiles of unlicensed, unregistered, long-range, (better than) military-style arms. They organized and fought a guerrilla insurrection rather than continue to endure a government that did not serve, reflect or benefit them. And, perhaps to the surprise of everyone including themselves, they prevailed.
Isn't it funny how times have changed. Criticizing the government is now only done by kooks and loonies, who of course should be rounded up and added to the ever-growing list of potential terrorists. Quoting the Constitution or Bill of Rights is now considered impertinent enough to get you on the list. And the Fourth of July is now all about wearing the team colors, whooping it up for the coach in Washington, and celebrating with displays of military might. All while you shut up and pay your taxes, so nobody gets hurt.
Because, you know, times are so different now.
Please do celebrate the Fourth of July--for what it is. Independence Day. Go read the Declaration of Independence, and talk about it. It may not be a casual conversation, but it's one worth having.