I Want to Live in Amer-i-ca! Everything's Free in Amer-i-ca!
So, as every red blooded American knows, tomorrow is Independence Day for the United States. As I understand it, it commemorates the day some white British dudes finally got tired of the taxes being too damned high and declared their independence from the King of England. They did this by writing the 1770’s equivalent of a bunch of angry Post-It notes listing grievances called the Declaration of Independence.
To be fair, it was much better written than the standard angry roommate Post-It note. Paper was expensive back then, so when you wanted to stick it to some oppressive landlord or something, you wanted to be a little more eloquent than “Do the dishes, dumbass”. Also, adhesives weren’t what they are today and likely sticking the Declaration of Independence to the wall would have required some sort of horse-based syrup that was, incidentally, also expensive. I’m going to go ahead and blame the British for that since there was probably both a parchment tax and a horse-based syrup tax (I think that was a synonym for the Sugar Tax actually…I don’t feel like looking it up).
What I’m saying is that the British loved taxing our forefathers. Sure, they gave reasons for this like “Listen, you colonial assholes, we saved your butts during the French and Indian War. Do you think England just has a magical ‘Efficient and Effective War for All’ wand? DO YOU THINK MONEY JUST GROWS ON TREES, YOU INGRATE KIDS? Get off our lawn! And by lawn, we mean the cotton and tobacco fields of the South, the breadbasket farm colonies of the middle colonies, and the fishing and boat building industry of New England.” But really, I think that it was just that taxation without representation was ALL the rage back then. Basically, England had a plan for domination of the New World:
Phase One: Send all the people we don’t like to the New World Phase Two: Tax them heavily. Phase Three: PROFIT!
Unfortunately, when you send away a bunch of people you don’t like and then try to profit off them, sometimes those jerks start feeling put upon (since you banished them, never invite them to your fancy tea parties, AND tell them that they are helping you pay for the damn tea) and start crackin’ wise about their mama. In this case, their mama is England.
I just felt like I needed to spell that out for you. The American school system is not what it used to be.
And so it was the on July 4th, 1776, America sent a Fuck You letter to the King of England and as the letter floated across the Atlantic, already you could hear the gentle pitter patter of a bunch of white dudes arguing about states rights.
There was a bunch of other stuff that happened before and after that (tea brewing and bloody snowball fights in Boston, Lexington AND Concord, um…musket polishing…shoes made out of newspaper…George Washington gnawing off the shooting arm of the leader of the British Navy with his famous wooden teeth, or something…I don’t really remember how the Revolutionary War ended) and after a bunch of people died and a bunch of other people wrote uppity leaflets about common sense and how paying taxes blows, a new country was born!
And, much in the way that America celebrates Mexican Independence by drinking margaritas to oblivion and wearing sombreros bought in bulk from Oriental Trading, tomorrow we shall celebrate our independence by drinking cheap beer in patriotically themed special edition cans whilst cooking animals over open flames and blowing shit up in the sky.
The other thing that’s great about the 4th of July is how every commercial becomes about how awesome being an American is, as represented by our ability to purchase and consume Budweiser WHENEVER WE FUCKING WANT, ENGLAND! Also, thanks troops for keeping us free, or something.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Jeez, how interesting…another cynical ‘screw America’ post from some liberal, bleeding heart blogger”. That’s fair, I guess. I find American history to be completely hilarious (I mean…the McCarthy Era? COMIC GOLD). However, it just so happens that this 4th of July is coming to us during incredibly exciting times.
It’s true that I thought I would live to see huge leaps and bounds in marriage equality…but I thought I’d be watching the news from an old folks home while sipping on some Metamucil. And no, that’s not what I do for fun on Friday night, OK? Though it probably will be when I’m 90. The fact that I got to see this in 2013 gives me a great amount of hope for the future of this country. In addition to that, I got to see the people of Texas storm the capitol to support one woman’s battle to stop a horrific anti-choice bill there. TEXAS! And she did it!
It’s true that I wasn’t alive to see the Moon landing or feel the energy in the air when Martin Luther King spoke or feel the despair when so many great leaders were taken from us violently and at the height of their attempts at progress. But the effects of their legacy are with us today and to feel that combined with the amazing things happening for human rights today is exhilarating and amazing and I would not want to live at any other time. I have often said that every day is better than the one before for the rights of disenfranchised people. I was starting to believe that things were going full tilt backwards. But now there is hope and I see light at the end of yet another tunnel in this nation’s history. We are still young in comparison to much of the developed world and it’s true that I feel a certain kind of pride for being a part of a country that stumbles, falls hard, and gets back up again, often as a better place for more people.
As with everything, there is tremendous ways to go to become the great country that America has the potential to be. People will still be fighting every day for their rights, to be treated as equals on the national stage, to feed their families, to have the families that they want, to be with the people they love, to not be devastated by medical and other hardships, but each monumental judgment like those of the Supreme Court recently is another step in the right direction. At least for marriage equality. Voting rights is another story and another fight but I believe that in the end the rights of the people will win.
Because I’m a fucking optimist or something. Whatever.
Yeah, that’s right. I love America.
*Cue “Battle Hymn of the Republic” with full orchestral and choral arrangement*
I love America enough to pronounce all the syllables of the word America completely and correctly. I love America enough to know that being a nation that helps the poor, that protects its citizens from drunken neighbors who want to show off their AK-47 collections, that works to give a large portion of our minimum wage work force a path to citizenship over building a solider studded super wall, that has an open and insane debate over a woman’s right to choose and her agency, that is committed to improvement and change in general even if a lot of the country is stuck in the politics of 1863, makes this a great nation and one of which I am proud to be a citizen.
I got you didn’t I, starting off with all that cynical completely historically inaccurate shit? You thought I was going to say “I will eat a hot dog ironically while wearing a trucker hat that says ‘Tories 4 Eva’ to symbolically spit on the USA”. But I didn’t! As it turns out, even a liberal, sexual and political deviant can be a patriot and love the country in which she lives, even if it’s obvious that it needs a lot…a LOT…of work.
Much in the way that we commit ourselves to people who are wonderful but relationships with them require work, so it is with the country in which we build our homes and families in. I have never threatened to move to Canada over some dumb thing the government is trying to do. Sorry, America, I am in it to win it.
*Cue “Eye of the Tiger”…with full orchestral and choral arrangement…*
Next week on “Horribly Inaccurate History”, we’ll talk about Lewis and Clark and the French Beaver Trappers of the Grand Tetons (it will be a Choose Your Own Adventure story...maybe...that would be amazing).