Today is Independence Day. From my earliest memories it was a day to rejoice in being an American, to celebrate freedom from tyranny, the freedom to live in a democracy where the Bill of Rights guaranteed certain unalienable rights: freedom of speech, religion and the press, protection from unreasonable search and seizure, protection of rights to life, liberty and property, and yes, the right to bear arms, a right needed in a time when they were used for hunting and survival and when local militias had been crucial in turning the tide against British rule, not to carry in Wal-Mart for scaring peaceful shoppers.
I was brought up during WWII and taught to be proud of my country and the democratic principles it stood for. That all men were created equal, and the hard fought for right to include women in the electoral process, even though they are yet to be included by an equal rights amendment.
But I am no longer proud. I see no cause for celebration. The concept of a democracy has been replaced by a theocratic oligarchy with a demented demagogue at its head. We are no longer a shining city on a hill but a mean spirited nation run by tweets from a bully pulpit.
Today, the day we should be celebrating our wonderful nation, created by the people and for the people, a decision hangs in the balance: will 22 million citizens be denied healthcare so the top 1% can have their taxes reduced? It is as simple as that. The savings for defunding Planned Parenthood, disallowing claims for pre-existing conditions, help for addicts whether hooked on prescription or other drugs, and the list goes on, will allow the richest of our fellow Americans to add another yacht to their collection, perhaps this one docked in Monaco while another still rests in the Bahamas . . . at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens . . . the poor and the elderly.
So no, I won’t celebrate today. Instead, I might shed a few tears. I’m old. I don’t have decades in front of me to watch the total destruction of a way of life. I hope I won’t see another world war started by a schoolyard bully and coward who did everything to escape the draft but seems to take pleasure in seeing others sent to war, who is today playing chicken with another madman across the globe who claims he can now hit anyplace in the world with his nukes.
I won’t be distracted by pretty fireworks and zealous praise for our country. Instead, I worry for my daughter, my grandson, my nieces and nephews and their children, for your children and grandchildren, and for all those who come after us into this New World Order specifically designed for the rich to grow richer and the rest of our citizens to exist to work for them for a pittance and die quickly and cheaply when no longer of use. There is nothing I see to celebrate in the current state of our nation.
Our country has turned its back on its citizens, quietly locking the doors that once led to freedom and justice, and all the while we were busy eating hot dogs and watching fireworks.