Torn On The Fourth Of July

It’s Independence Day, and I know I’m supposed to be all “USA! USA!” and patriotic and stuff, but really, I’m just not feeling it. Most of the week, I’d completely forgotten today is a holiday, even yesterday, when, if I’d remembered that today is a holiday, I would have bought enough cigarettes to last me until Saturday. Now I’m stuck smoking Camels (which are, surprisingly, more expensive than my normal imported smokes), which, while the supplying the nicotine I need to keep me from killing stupid people, does not help alleviate my mood.

So, about that mood and my low supply of patriotic enthusiasm today:

In some ways, it’s been a great year in American history. For the first time, we had two viable minority Presidential candidates, in Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton. Damn shame they were running in the same party, though; if they hadn’t, we would have been guaranteed a historic Presidency. . .which, I guess, we still are, since John McCain would be the first septuagenarian sworn in. That little fact goes largely ignored; I think the American public just sees him as another old white guy. McCain aside, politically, it’s been an exciting time: history-making candidates, women and minorities more energized and eager to particpate in the process, the youth vote turning out in record numbers. . .an exciting time for the experiment in democracy known as America.

At the same time, though, I feel so thoroughly, completely, and utterly betrayed by the American government right now that it’s hard to muster feelings of anything but disgust whenever I think of it. All the lies, scandals, crimes, injustices, and corruption. . .and, even more heartbreaking, the complete failure of the Fourth Estate to serve as the watchdog it was intended to be, and the laissez-faire, apathetic attitudes of the American people. . . At this point, I think that if we could harness the energy generated by our forefathers spinning in their graves, we could power at least the Eastern Seaboard and cut our fossil fuel consumption greatly.

One thing that makes me ill in particular is how much this administration has hidden information, refused testimony, touted propaganda as fact while suppressing the real facts, and outright lied to the American people. Freedom is the ability to make choices, isn’t it? And when you’re denied the information needed to make informed choices, isn’t your freedom being suppressed? You can’t make a free and informed choice without the proper information, and just like that, your freedom is curtailed. By the “Leader of the Free World,” no less. I remember Senator Clinton saying that she would not have supported the war if the information suppressed by the administration at the time they were making their case for war had been available. . .a lot of other people felt the same way, and now our servicemen and their families (not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, wounded, or displaced from their homes by this war; click here for a full count of American casualties and a low-ball estimate of Iraqi casualties) are paying the price for the failures of the media, the people, and the government. Hey, remember how this war would help lower gas prices? They’ve done the exact opposite, as have the chest-thumping aimed at Iran (Surprisingly, Ron Paul, the former Republican candidate, agrees; click here for his views on fixing the problem). Thinking about all the ways this administration has wronged the American people just makes me ill and gives me outrage fatigue.

I’m still proud of the American Dream; hell, I’m still chasing it. But I can’t help feeling that the administration is in opposition to the Dream, and the people are failing it.

And with that feeling. . .I just don’t feel like celebrating today.

VS – 7.4.08

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One Response to “Torn On The Fourth Of July”

  1. solitary vegan Says:

    Didn’t you know you were supposed to have put reality on the back burner and do what every real American was doing yesterday: eating too much, drinking too much and blowing stuff up? 😉

    I’m sorry you didn’t feel like celebrating. Wish I could have cheered you up. *huuug*

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