By Jack Canfora
So, fans of calendars will know July 4th is fast approaching, or as we Americans refer to it, July 4th. Or Independence Day, if we’re feeling formal, or referring to the Will Smith/Jeff Goldblum blockbuster from the 90s. I’ve always been a little iffy about this holiday, although I do have a tradition: every year, late on the night on July 3rd, I leave out a mug of ale and tray of pornography for the ghost of Ben Franklin. I also try to eat a lot of cheeseburgers, but that’s more or less a daily tradition with me.
I’m generally not a fan of nationalism; it often ends in tears. And America is deathly allergic about taking an honest look at its past (or even the present many times). But this year, I feel better about celebrating the 4th than normal. First of all, any chance to gather in groups feels wonderful. And, Can’t stress this enough, cheeseburgers.
But for all of our imperfections as a nation (he phrased with supreme understatement), I’ll give our country this: we are, to my knowledge the only nation predicated not on geography, religion, nor common language, but an idea. That we are created equal, and all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those ideas are beautiful ones. Ones we have failed to live up to. Ones we continue to fall well short of. But the idea is an aspirational one, one worth striving for, and as easy as it is be cynical and jaded about our divided nation, especially if you’re hungry and the cheeseburgers aren’t ready yet, things are, overall, as counterintuitive as it may feel, inching a little closer to the goal of true freedom and equality. We have a long, long, LONG way to climb up a steep mountain, but let’s allow ourselves to wait until the 5th to continue tackle those issues as best we can.
It’s OK to feel a communal pride. It’s OK to feel OK this Sunday. At least, that’s what I’ll be trying to do. For a day, anyway.
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