Sunday, July 1, 2007

I hate the 4th of July

To begin I just want it to be known that I love this country and I love Independence day. It is the 4th of July that I dislike... a lot. I'll explain as the post proceeds.

I got a lot of good comments on my last post and I just want to clarify, because last post was a sort of precursor to today's topic. First off, I think it is OK to have "special" occasions, and I think it's great to celebrate a good cause. I just question why people go against their fundamental principles when they "celebrate". If the event is so "special" why don't we use it as an excuse to progress in our goal to live the life we want to live? Phil mentioned that he eats meat on weekends and that is how he separates things and remains a vegetarian the rest of the week. I like that. My wife and I only eat sweets on holidays... It started out that we only ate sweets on weekends, but then that was all we ate on weekends and it wasn't serving its purpose. I know that sweets aren't good for me and I know that I feel like crud when I eat too many sweets. Why to I sabotage my holidays by making those the occasions when I partake?

Anyway, I was going to talk about the Fourth of July. It's a day for BBQ, family get togethers and fireworks. I'm all for family get togethers, and I"m not completely against BBQ. Why do we celebrate the Fourth by blowing stuff up? It's probably a symbol of war and the fights we made for our independence. How many students today know what we celebrate on the Fourth of July? Surely some do. How many know how long we have been independent and the history behind our independence? I'm guessing that fewer students know things like this. If you ask someone what they are doing for the Fourth, how often will they say, "celebrating my independence"? How often will they say, "BBQ and fireworks". I'm guessing the latter is far more common.

In addition to the fact that many in the younger generations don't understand what we celebrate on the fourth, fireworks (to me) are a poor way of celebrating. First off, most of the fireworks that we buy come from China... So really we're celebrating our dependence on cheap Chinese goods. I suppose that's OK, but don't we do that with our weekly trip to Wal-Mart? Second off, we buy these firecrackers and proceed to blow them up. Not that I would expect you to do anything else with firecrackers, but why do we have to contribute to air pollution, noise pollution, and litter in celebrating the independence of our beautiful nation. When I lived at the beach we would do a beach clean up to celebrate the weekend after the 4th... It was disgusting and a total disgrace to find the litter all over the beach. Doesn't it seem more appropriate to celebrate the 4th by helping preserve this land that our fathers fought for?

Now I recognize the irony in my writing. I'm saying that you shouldn't let off fireworks for the 4th, yet you have every right to do that... This is a free country. I love that about this country. I am exercising my freedoms this year by writing a blog that expresses my distaste for the fourth of July. I will not be purchasing any fireworks this year (or ever). I will not be attending or watching on television any fireworks shows (although a better option, the fireworks still come from China and if nobody watches them, maybe we'll stop blowing stuff up for the Fourth). I will also be reading the Declaration of Independence on the morning of the Fourth before I tackle the chores of the day.

I hope that others will follow suit. Our independence isn't just another day off work. It is not something to be taken for granted. This is a day in history where some very courageous men sent a letter to the King saying that they wanted to be free from his rule. These men knew the consequences, and they were willing to fight and even die to have the freedoms that we now take for granted. I look around me at the apathy of my generation. Some may recognize that business now seems to have a bigger say in politics than a vote, but they are unwilling to make a fuss over it. The Fourth is a day to celebrate making a fuss in politics. That is what we celebrate on the Fourth and that is what will make our country strong.


Heffalump said...

Reading the Declaration of Independence is a great idea! A year or two ago I bought a children's book that is basically an illustrated pcture book of the Declaration. It has the whole thing in there line by line with illustrations that help kids understand the meaning of the words. Its actually really long for a picture book (think 160 pages which includes a glossary of terms) Maybe we will start a family tradition of reading that book together during the week of the 4th.

Emily said...

I kind of feel sad for you a little bit, but only because the 4th of July is a day of fond memories bonding with my family and having barbeques outside. I wish you had more fond memories associated with this holiday. Usually, holidays are my favorite days because I get to be with my extended family. I love being with my family.

IƱigo said...

I was born on the 4th of July, I am an Spaniard and that date doesnt mean much to us, but a lot to me :-)
However, one should take into account what that Independence meant: freedom from a king far away , towards personal and social freedom. And that should mean a pledge not to inflict that king's despotic government on other people... that has not been the case in many ocassions, and should be a thing to consider.