I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Portsmouth as I write this. The fireworks aren’t for another three hours but I wanted to get here early for a parking spot. Portsmouth becomes a madhouse on the third of July. I never quite understood why they have the fireworks the day before the holiday but whatever. I grew up with that sort of thing. Kittery has trick-or-treating the night before Halloween. My family always got together (until recent years) to open presents on Christmas Eve. Anyway, I’m here for the fireworks that celebrate Independence Day.
Judging by my blog posts by now you might wonder about why I go to such a celebration. I’m certainly not in love with my country at the moment; at least not the government. I’m not too fond of the American public at times, either. I hold to no nationalistic ideals. In fact, on principal I oppose blind patriotism flying in the face of reason. So why attend an event celebrating our nation’s independence?
The simple answer is I like fireworks. The company that Portsmouth hires puts on a good show. Also, my family used to take me as a kid, and as it was something I grew up with I have a hard time letting go. But that doesn’t really justify why I go. I don’t owe anybody any sort of justification, but hey, I needed a blog post and this topic is relevant.
It’s quite easy to justify anyway. The holiday celebrates the forming of our country by declaring itself independent from a monarchy overseas that was abusing its power. It does not, however, celebrate how great we might think that country has been since then. It does not celebrate even taking land from the natives, or expansion to other parts of the world since. It simply celebrates the forming the nation and the struggle for freedom its founding fathers had to go through in order to do so… even though some of those founding fathers, by today’s standards, were pricks.
As I take my Japanese-made motorcycle to a different state than my own to see people shoot a Chinese invention into the sky, I’m not forgetting the bullshit that us Americans have to deal with on a day to day basis. I only have to think about how much money I’m spending on coffee and food tonight, and how little money I have to start with, to remind me of that. Don’t think I’m miserable. My life in this country isn’t all bad. I’m just saying that there’s more than enough room for improvement. What I’m also saying is that I can feel free to enjoy the crowd of people getting together for a good time without feeling guilty about it.