Friday, July 4, 2008
Happy Fifth of July.
It's almost over. As I write this, it's almost midnight on the fourth. The dog is cowering upstairs. The major fireworks displays have ended but people around the city are still celebrating with their own fireworks. Soon it will be time to call the cops (just kidding).
I used to love the fourth of July, mostly because of the fireworks. It is now one of my least favorite days of the year. I find the American flags and jingoistic, patriotic rhetoric too upsetting. Once, a number of years ago, some people I know were assisting a family of Guatemalan refugees (I don't know for a fact that they were Guatemalan, they were using false names and may well have been from a country other than Guatemala). They stayed in Madison for a little while, I assume because they needed a safe place to stay while they were waiting to be admitted into Canada. They happened to be in Madison on the Fourth of July. They came to a family picnic, followed by the local fireworks. The Guatemalan children freaked. Their parents also appeared to be distressed. What were pretty lights in the sky for the rest of us were too much like the sights and sounds of actual war for them, and they had lived through it. Now I can't go to fireworks without thinking about the fact that what we're doing for entertainment represents death and destruction for so many other people, often at the hands of "our" government. (I use the quotation marks there because they're not really ours. They're Halliburton's government, Walmart's government, Monsanto's government, but not ours.) Then add the flag waving, fighter planes flying overhead and God Bless America blasting everywhere. Ugh. Not a day of celebration, in my opinion.
Anyway, happy Fifth of July!