4th of July is a more inclusive holiday than most holidays for Americans.
I love special occasions which do not require one to have a family or be a member of a specific faith or ethnicity or orientation to participate. The nature of social media really inescapably hammers everyone with what a “normal” holiday is and it is painful to people who don’t get to celebrate because their families are dead or uninterested or because they are a member of a marginalized religion etc. So I love the 4th of July. I was brought up by parents who loathe special occasions so much that they, not only never celebrated holidays, but they eloped so as to avoid a big wedding. Occasionally, my extended family will invite me to celebrate a holiday, but they usually extend the invite via my parents, who believe they are doing me a favor by not obligating me.
I love pretty lights in the sky and BBQ and American flag bikinis and being able to celebrate with chosen family or just going some place where happy crowds are eating, drinking, and watching fireworks. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, but I’ll be happy to enjoy food and fire with friends of any flag.
Much like Halloween, I love July 4, just not as much as I used to. As a workaholic, I have only myself to blame for finding less fun in Halloween. However, a bunch of killjoys I call friends are sucking a bunch of the happiness out of Independence Day.
There are people who think Independence Day is the perfect occasion to, rather than love their neighbors, rant about every bad thing which ever happened anywhere in North America and talk about how other countries are better. Not that most people going on about this have any specific recommendations. Seriously, WTF people? Would it really kill you to let other people enjoy anything? Also, I don’t see most of you trying to emigrate any place else, so you must like something about being American. Either that or other countries are worse about allowing immigration than the US is. I’ve spent years living in Europe and the Middle East, so I’m probably more qualified on this topic than most of the Americans going on about country comparisons. You can celebrate something as being fabulous without taking any of the fab away from other similar things. There is a difference between patriotism and jingoism. There are no nations on earth which have been ruled continuously by an immortal vampire since the dawn of humans. So, if you want to get technical about it, all countries are stolen.
I had dogs all the way through elementary school. Fireworks were much less regulated in New York when I was growing up. I’m sure our neighbors used some which were illegal, but nobody was sending police around to regulate backyard barbecues. So there were a lot of big explosions very nearby. Not one of my dogs was afraid of fireworks. But now some people act like enjoying fireworks is tantamount to saying you hate dogs. I love dogs. A dog who loves you will respond strongly to your emotional state, so, for the love of all that is furry, please pet your doggies and tell them everything is just peachy.
So here are some does and don’ts. Don’t play with fireworks without training. You could hurt yourself or others. Don’t fire guns in the air. You could hurt yourself or others. Don’t freak out about fireworks or guns around your dog. You could freak out yourself and your dog. Don’t drink and drive. You could hurt yourself or others. Don’t let anyone else peer pressure you into drinking or eating anything you don’t feel like drinking or eating. This is Independence Day, not Follower Day. Eat too much, if you feel like it. Eat something unhealthy, if you feel like it. Drink too much, if you feel like. Don’t tell your kids America is perfect. America is not perfect. Don’t tell your kids America sucks. America does not suck. Don’t tell your kids all other countries suck because we live in an increasingly global world. Also it is not true that all other countries suck. Do tell your kids America is awesome and teach them about some of the freedoms they enjoy for being American.
For example, I’m free to write and disseminate this article. Whether or not the government agrees with it. Whether or not you agree with it. I’m free to publish magazine quality photo shoots of gorgeous alternative women stripping off red, white, and blue outfits on BlueBlood.com. I hope we can at least all agree that gorgeous alternative women stripping off red, white, and blue outfits is a good thing. But we don’t have to agree, and you are even free to voice your opinion. Because this is America. Land of the free, home of the brave, and all that. I was born with an independent mindset and nurtured, both at home and in elementary school and in high school, to develop that part of who I am. This time of year, I miss being in high school and I miss living in the DC area because it makes me sad to feel like I should be closeted about feeling patriotic.