How I am doing the 4th of July

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I might be celebrating today. A lot has changed since the last 4th of July.

Changes since last year:

  • I am now British
  • We have a new president who makes it hard to be proud of our country
  • It’s become clear that America is pretty darn divided

The British thing isn’t really an impediment, but it has caused me to hesitate for a split second before engaging in my normal 4th of July celebrations:

Pouring tea leaves into water

You can’t buy fireworks this time of year, so I celebrate the Boston Tea Party 5 months early.

Still did it though.

But the president and America thing… I was pretty horrified when he started he tweeted the CNN/wrestling gif. That was terrifying. His MO is to attack anything that stands in his way, truth be damned.

And what’s worse is that people are engaged, invested, and endorsing that. The America that I thought existed doesn’t. It’s split. And for very, very good reasons. The ruling class (let’s call a spade a spade) is stripping us of basic human rights, and misdirecting our attention at the same time. Divisions that have existed since our founding are becoming dangerous conflicts (with the exploited taking the brunt of the damage).

Most of the time, these days, I am ashamed to be an American. But not always. Because at the end of the day, there are a lot of really good people fighting. So today, I’m remembering and celebrating these things:

  • The victims of American entitlement and idiocy–the black people on the streets killed by cops, the people around the world we kill in wars we start with so little cause, the queer communities we try to suffocate in our own neighborhoods, ourselves as we give the rest of the world more and better reasons to hate us
  • That I am an immigrant, from a nation of immigrants, and I bring different perspectives and experiences to both my new home, and my birth home because of it
  • That despite everything we are doing, I still believe in American exceptionalism–the exceptionalism that says that because we are a nation of immigrants, we have the potential to build more new and necessary things. Our wealth of insight and ideas is massive
  • The people who are on the ground, back home, and fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves
  • The fact that the reason that the British crown gives all of its income to my adopted government is that the Revolution bankrupted George III1

That last one is tongue in cheek. But true.

Often, I retreat into the label of “Californian” because the state is easier to be proud of than the rest of our clusterfuck country. But I still want to be proud to be an American. Before that though, we’re going to have to face up to a lot of ugly facts about ourselves…

Time to go listen to some Ham.

  1. This complicates my position as a republican here… (lower-case ‘r’). I don’t think we should really have a monarch, but they do represent a rather large contribution to the national budget. Tricky.