Part of the 4th of July holiday -- what we used to call Independence Day -- is getting group emails from politicians that are full of patriotic blather, as in these two examples, which came to me from two different New Mexico Democrats:
"... our Founders boldly declared independence from a powerful empire and gave birth to a new nation. The struggle toward freedom would be long and hard. But they had an unshakable faith in the strength of the American people and their fight for liberty."
"... also celebrates the freedom of Americans to live in a land of opportunity where we can work to make our dreams come true and where each of us is guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
The emails I've been getting also demonstrate a frightening and disgusting fusion of Independence Day with Memorial Day. They want me to remember the US military personnel who are active now, not the ones from July 4, 1776:
"Let’s pause to remember all those Americans who have given their lives defending freedom and liberty, and let’s honor the brave men and women in uniform who keep us safe every day."
"Let us honor our modern day heroes who guarantee these rights--our brave women and men in uniform serving in our armed forces at home and around the world."
About this development, let's just cut the crap. Nothing any American soldier has ever done has ever made me any safer. What they have done is kept the owners of Americans corporations safe from missing out on opportunities to amass huge profits and big piles of wealth. They've destroyed economies and infrastructures. They've killed millions of people, maimed millions of people, raped and stolen from and terrorized human beings who were minding their own business and never did anything to me or posed any danger to anyone.
It's an offense to me and to everyone else to mingle this record of human savagery with the idea that my country gained its independence from another country at some point in history. It's disgusting.
The stupid, mindless appeals to patriotism are another matter, one that's in a way almost as sad. They write their blather as they oversee the ongoing transformation of America into a third world country, one of lower wages and insecure retirements. One of less opportunity for young people, to go to college, to expect a life as good as their parents had. They peddle their blather as they oversee the decline of the United States into a country that's less than the one I grew up in in almost all regards.
They write it as every day another document is leaked that shows our national leaders to be lying about what they said the day before, reveals them to be tyrants to whom our privacy means nothing, who think they can do anything to anyone, spy on anyone, assassinate anyone, bomb anyone. They write their stupid appeals to our emotions as our president has the plane of another president forced to the ground and searched, trampling all the notions of law and decency and mutual respect that we used to be proud of here.
About all of this, the writers of the patriotic blather are silent. The choose instead an appeal to emotion that if it gives anyone a warm feeling at all, does it by preventing them from thinking, let alone of thinking critically, of questioning, of expecting something better.
This is Independence Day. What gives me joy and hope about it is that no matter how much anyone tries to paper it over with celebrations of war or with mindless blather, it's the remembrance of a revolution. It's a reminder that we, us, the American people, started out in revolution. That we only exist as a country because of revolution.
And because it's that, it's a reminder that revolutions have always happened, and always will, because revolution arises out of human nature. Revolution is part of human nature, the natural reaction to the kind of things being done to us in the name of profit, of greed, of the lust for power, and in the name of Capitalism, and by way of its handmaiden, imperialism, whether it be accomplished by having colonies or wars or the biggest and most powerful banks and corporations and the most and richest Wall Street tycoons.
The 4th of July is a reminder that we can reject it all in an instant. We can bring it all to the ground and build something else. It's proof that we were born in revolution. Never forget that. Happy Independence Day.