At the end of a long, lovely day yesterday, I, my boyfriend, and another couple sat in the yard, remarking on how we’d had the perfect Fourth of July – we’d canoed a river all day, complete with a small American flag stuck to the head of one of the canoes, then headed back to the house for grilled steak tips and corn on the cob. Then we lit sparklers (the few we could get lit, that is, as they were old enough to have been in a forgotten corner of the garage). Proud Americans celebrating Independence Day – absolutely.
It’s hard not to think about our government when we think about being American; after all, it was the form of government we choose when we grabbed our independence from the British that made us different - revolutionary. When we celebrate the Fourth of July, we celebrate revolution.
Too bad we’re not really revolutionary anymore.
It makes me a bit sad to think that our most American of holidays is marked by barbecuing a few hamburgers, watching a few fireworks, waving a flag or two. Perhaps we make some big purchases during Fourth of July *blowout* sales. Maybe watch a show on Thomas Jefferson on the History Channel. It’s our culture, and we’re proud of it, but I wish Americanism had less to do with consumerism. And unfortunately it’s the consumerism that we’re so well known for. That, and our deplorable foreign policies.
I hope this is just my cynicism showing through, and that the country is filled with hopeful Americans who can and will make a significant difference in our world. If you’re out there, tell me about what you’re doing, and I’ll light a sparkler in your honor.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a good place to rent a canoe in eastern Massachusetts, check out the Foote Brothers’ Canoes – floating through the wilds in a self-powered craft is a good way to channel your inner-colonial American.