Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence From What?

Up ahead there in the distance
shadows coming through the haze
you're the only one that listens..
to help me break loose from these chains,
-"Walk Into The Sun" by Dirty Vegas

The fourth of July. Independence Day. I understand that the latter (at least for Americans) occurs on the former. I endorse celebrating the latter, but not so much the former, and more and more so, people seem to be concentrating on the former.

What exactly are we celebrating again?

(This is from memory, no research involved.)

To my recollection, the American colonies were being abused by corrupt British politicians. But that's how colonies are usually treated. Pull open most science-fiction books and find that Luna is an abused colony striving for independence from the neighbors at the bottom of the gravity well (for example, Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert A Heinlein).

To me, it's not so much that we wanted independence from the British, but that we wanted independence from corruption.

Now I understand that the Star Spangled Banner speaks of the rockets' red glare and bombs bursting in [the] air, identifying the trials and tribulations (and in some instances, literally rockets and bombs), but that gives little cause for the furor over fireworks today.

It's like any major or minor cause for celebration we capitalists can get our hands on. It gets out of control.

What are we celebrating again? Oh, right: freedom from corruption. Now, I live in northern Illinois, a scant forty miles from a city that's probably more corrupt than Washington D.C. and what are people doing? Flocking to the city to see things go boom. Shouldn't we be thumbing our noses and biting our thumbs at it instead?

Given the opportunity (which I have been), I choose to celebrate my independence quietly, thanking what honest portions of our government allow me to avoid having to face any rockets and bombs, and saving my money for holidays I actually enjoy celebrating without infringing on anyone else's right to a good night's sleep.

Like All Hallow's Eve.