What does the 4th of July mean to me.

I try to pay attention to the meaning of holiday. I know for a lot of folks Memorial Day, 4th of July, and a lot of our holiday’s are just another day off. One more chance to sleep late, maybe
watch or play with some fireworks, and enjoy friends, family, and food. Sure I’m being a curmudgeon, and maybe people aren’t really like that. I want to take some time during the day to think and talk about what it’s all about. For a workaholic nation, what makes something important enough to stop work?

The 4th of July is celebration of our Declaration of Independence. The fledgling united State of America had already be at war with Britin for about a year, when the continental congress drew up and approved a resolution stating *why* we had gone to war. The document is a pretty nice mix of international law, Natural Philosophy, and outright PR. You should read it, it’s a pretty good read.

So what does that mean, to me, in 2014?

I think a lot of it speaks to me of the history of high ideals of the USA, as well as our consistant inability to live up to them, and our blindness to stew of ironic contradictions that we live in.

– Our Declaration of Independence was written by a slave owner. And even then, sections of *his* anti-slavery text were removed to make the document more palatable.

– As we sit here, and celebrate the 4th of July, we are also discovering that NSA ‘targeted Surveillance’ means ‘Anyone that searched for Linux, TOR, Tails is having all of their web traffic logged by the NSA’

– Despite our ideals that all people are created equal, we bomb wedding parties, families, and houses overseas, and hid our manslaughter of fellow humans under euphemisms like ‘Collateral Damage’.

– We speak of ideas of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. But as a culture and a nation our true values are driven by money, celebrity, and money.

– We talk about democracy, and self-governance. But we have propped up, and continue to create or support, dictators and despots when it suits our needs.

– Despite our talk of self-reliance, the oil that is the lifeblood of our country, and so much of our consumer goods come from overseas.

– We have allowed money to infect our political system to the point where the only people that can run, are those that can suck up to huge diners to fund their campaign.

– Our original sins as a country, slavery of millions and genocide of the civilizations that were already on this contentent, and seldom acknowledged or discussed, even though their fallout is still felt by americans today.

The United States is a great country, and I love it to death. But it’s a flawed country, right to it’s roots. I grew up hearing a lot of rhetoric about “Hate the sin, but Love the sinner”. I know, I’m ranting a bit here. I’m being a curmudgeon and a downer, I’ll knock it off.

Enjoy the 4th. Celebrate all we have done, and celebrate the high ideas we espoused as we as a country took our first steps on the world stage. But as you’re watching the fireworks and celebrating the great things we have done as a country, don’t let that drive you to mistakes we have make as well.