July 4th

The young punks in the neighborhood are trying to shoot down the moon. The city sanctioned fireworks are done, barely standing out among the many private shows on all sides from my lofty deck. My own cheesy grocery store fireworks display is done, appreciated by my famly and the little tykes next door. The smell of smoke lingers long in the air. And as my family heads home, my brother and visiting cousin go to bed, I sit and reflect.

Being born on the 6th of July, I was pretty patriotic. Even though it wasn’t right on the 4th, I still had patriotic themed birthdays and fireworks right near my birthday. Flags flying and all that. I do love my country, but I lament the many problems with both the upper crust and the lower tiers of society. It’s interesting that I was born of the 6th of July, not the fourth. My patriotism may never have faded had I been born on the fourth. But I wasn’t. I was born on the 6th. I bought into the indoctrination of history class and homeroom recital of the Pledge of Allegiance. I liked the flag birthday cake my mom made one year. I even liked the all american birthday watermelon with red, white and blue candles they made me at the family reunion one year, even though I’m not a big fan of watermelon. But as I’ve gained more life experience and job experience, my patriotism has faded. We do many things so well in this country. We have cutting edge studies, new innovations in science and medicine, unique and world changing inventions, determination and a will to affect change in any situation.
But the more things change, the more they stay the same.

It’s interesting that a nation that has never known royalty, or a caste system, or an (official) religious state, has such trouble with the idea of class fairness and social justice. If you don’t agree that we have problems in those areas, then this isn’t the blog for you. How many innocent poor people are in jail? (Most of them are guilty. I’m not a “bleeding heart liberal”) But most of the white collar criminals are guilty, but are never convicted, and don’t do time even if convicted.

I guess the point I had in mind when I started this entry, is that we all have to contribute to society and government to make it work. It’s also the only way to break the gridlock of partisanship. When lawmakers are confronted with the uncomfortable fact that their constituents agree even when they don’t, that they might just have to work together. Sorry!

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