Monday, July 30, 2012

July 4th Is Not "Celebrate the Government Day"

As July comes to an end let's look back and remind ourselves:
July 4th is not "Celebrate the Government Day;" it is Independence Day -- the day to celebrate declaring independence from the most powerful empire on the face
of the earth.

It's not national "Pretty Lights in the Sky and BBQ Day;" it is a day to recall and thirst for liberty.

Indeed, July the 4th isn't a day to revel in militaristic and star spangled ignorance; it is a day to remember and conceive new radical thoughts.


Now, there's nothing wrong with BBQ and fireworks, but sometimes the true message of the Independence Day can be drowned out by the national anthem rather than amplified.

Having recently read the Hunger Games Trilogy, the way July 4th is celebrated reminds me strongly of the Reaping Festival:  So much intense nationalism, more lingo than usual about supporting the troops, and festivals dedicated to colors, stars, and food, rather than principles.  In essence, a day that started as a day to celebrate independence from government now is used to celebrate being a cog in a terrible machine.

In The Hunger Games, the reaping is a glamorous festival to celebrate a lottery in which children are drafted to fight each other to the death. The event, to be chosen, and even to die are supposed to be tremendous patriotic honors. But really the children and those cheering on their slaughter are tools of the oppressive government.  Let's not allow Independence Day to work the same way.

“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of  killing innocent people.” Howard Zinn

“It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.” Aristotle, Selected Writings From The Nicomachean Ethics And Politics

“The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is na├»ve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.” H.L. Mencken 

Profile PictureEric Sharp,
Regular Columnist, THL
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