There will be a moment on July Fourth in which you realize that it might be too hot to be day-drinking outside. Then things will get hazier and you’ll eat too much before passing out all sweaty during or shortly after some nearby fireworks spectacle.
Perhaps that’s the problem with July Fourth — most people spend it doing things in excess and wishing just a few of the people at any particular gathering would leave and then it’d be perfect. It’s easy to celebrate this holiday each year without really conceptualizing what the day means.
Much like some of the annoying people you’re likely to encounter on July Fourth, there is a lot to not like about the way things are in America these days. People realize that there isn’t a political party or politician out there who isn’t a shill for industry giants and war profiteers. People also realize that we still don’t have a good reason for having invaded Iraq in the first place and now it’s probably more fucked up over there than it would have been had we left them to their own devices.
To top it off, we have no reasonable expectation of privacy and our tax dollars go to blowing shit up and conducting warrantless surveillance on us instead of funding education or other concepts that may benefit society in the future.
Among all the problems we’ve created lies the beauty and majesty of America — things aren’t very close to what most of us think they should be, but that doesn’t mean we are limited in our ability to drink and remain reasonably content with how our lives are overall.
The founding fathers lived in a much different era than us, but they adhered to many of the same principles that politicians today hold dear. Hypocrisy and disdain for the poor have held true through the more than 200 years that have transpired since a bunch of white guys in clothing that only idiots would wear in July signed the Declaration of Independence.
There are important social constructs to celebrate on the Fourth of July, including friends, family and people you know with pools.
Maybe the big-ticket item to celebrate this holiday is the greatness of this nation, which is evidenced by how much fun most of us are having living here, doing as we please for the most part on a day-to-day basis.
We have become passive and generally unconcerned with political matters because of our perceived inability to do anything about the way things are and because technology makes this easy to do. What’s important these days is that you take a picture of your “I Voted” sticker and put it on Facebook so everyone knows you are casually invested in our democracy’s future.
Everything is easy and out of our control, and it’s OK. We’ll never know scarcity or famine, and we will continue to be able to purchase beer and everything else we consume on the Fourth of July in huge quantities.
I’m not entirely sure what the point of July Fourth is, which leads me to believe that its point is to celebrate our ability to gather and booze it up with those we’re closest to while remaining blissfully unaffected by the unsavory realities of the world today.
Fourth of July: Then and Now
Who: White dudes from 13 colonies
What: Fifty-six people agreed on the wording and intention of a document, created by a few of their friends, explaining why America was rising up against Great Britain.
Reason to celebrate: The declaration that all men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Unsavory realities: King George’s taxes; uncomfortable wigs; slavery
Fun Fact: John Adams initially
thought America’s independence would be celebrated on July 2, when he
and his bros actually wrote the Declaration of Independence. “The Second
Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha in the History of
America.” — John Adams
Who: Americans, including most Cincinnatians
What: Drinking a lot, blowing shit up
Where: Northside, Blue Ash, outside your apartment window probably
Reason to celebrate: Freedom from oppression; day off work
Unsavory realities: Economic inequality; corporate personhood; student loan debt; etc.
Fun fact: Denmark hosts one of the largest Fourth of July celebrations outside the U.S. In 1911, a group of Danish Americans purchased 200 acres of parkland and deeded it to the country as a memorial to all Danish Americans. One caveat: It has to be open to the public, available to celebrate American holidays and remain undeveloped, unlike the U.S. park system once Obama starts allowing fracking all up in ’em.