Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Another Holiday Targeted

It begins again. Another assault on American values as the most important holiday in the year occurring on July 4th is reduced to the day and month as if it is too hard or too impolitic to wish everyone Happy Independence Day.

To reduce the birth of the nation, this land, this America to a date is simply unbelievable. The Mexicans and drinkers throughout this country may be content to celebrate the independence of Mexico from foreign rule by shouting Cinco de Mayo and celebrating with alcohol is fine for them, but to celebrate the birth of the United States of America in such demeaning and reductive terms is simply wrong. It's unconscionable. It is as if the day is no more important than just another reason to shoot off fireworks and organize picnics and BBQs and drinking to excess. It is wrong.

It curdles my blood to hear and see Independence Day referred to as simply July 4th as if the date is sufficient to honor the fallen dead and the forefathers that broke from England to create a new country, a country that has become the single guiding light in the world, a model of democracy where refugees from the despots and tyrants of Europe and the rest of the world were guaranteed a welcome. Emma Lazarus's poem was the perfect fit for French's gift to the newly formed United States of America.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Lady Liberty raises her torch to welcome the rebels like our forefathers who dreamed a very different dream, a dream of having their voices heard and heeded by a government conceived in liberty that guaranteed no priestly cadre would determine their path in life, killing, mutilating, and burning those unwilling to knuckle under to the state religion. They embraced a country that offered them an opportunity to take their fates into their own hands and flourish where the stagnant caste systems of the Old Country no longer held sway and no despot or tyrant would ever condemn them for thinking and acting for themselves.

Those immigrants could worship as they chose without fear and speak their minds without censure. They were free and would gladly fight to keep those freedoms free from taint or outside control. They would gather in the streets and protest the greedy and anyone that would seek to extinguish their lights and their voices. They would fight back never accepting totalitarian rule from an increasingly inbred elite mired in privilege and power without restraint. They were free at last. Free from pomp and circumstance that has no more meaning than bread tossed to the starving masses when the masses should be allowed cake. They paid for the pomp and the circumstance and the jewels and finery of the monarchs and tyrants parading their excess for the starving and poor ground under their expensive heels.

To reduce the legacy of this country by simply referring to the date instead of celebrating the independence of equal participation in a democratic republic that would stand the test of time is ludicrous. Even a movie about aliens invading earth with more advanced technology against the puny earthling got it right. They didn't just celebrate the day they threw off the yolk of alien oppression and subjugation, they extended to the rest of the world, to every now freed human on this planet Earth, they shouted it loud and proud: Happy Independence Day. They were free of the enemy and could once again embrace the freedom for which they fought and died -- and triumphed. At least the movie makers got it right in the title: Independence Day. That their victory occurred on July 4th was coincidental, but I doubt any of those freedom fighters would ever reduce the most important day in the history of mankind to a date. To celebrating a date on the calendar, especially when many of the humans counted time and dates very differently. No, that day, that sequence of numbers and month names would never be reduced to the date. It would be Happy Independence Day.

And so it should be now.

Reject the happy 4th and remind everyone that the 4th day of July is a marker on the calendar that has not been diminished to the first Monday closest to the 4th to make getting time off work easier. Say it loud and often.


And never let anyone forget it should never be anything else. Do not let the most important celebration of our independence be anything but the joyful celebration of independence and not just another day. What's next? Ignoring Christmas and lumping it in with all the other end of the year celebrations by saying Happy Holidays? God forbid.

Keep the words of Lady Liberty in your hearts and in your minds and ever on your lips:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

After all, we celebrate the light of the world and not just a day for drinking and partying. 

That is all. Disperse. 

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