Today is a day for spewing some anger onto my computer screen. I’ll spew as politely as I can and hope my anger trails down the screen harmlessly once I’ve finished throwing heated words at it.
I just learned that the current U.S. President wants to uproot years of July 4th celebrations on the Mall in Washington, DC. He wants to be the central figure in this year’s celebration. The purpose of this? My best guess is that this new ritual will confuse the annual celebration of the birth of our country with personal praise for his Presidential term.
I used the word “uproot” in the last paragraph deliberately and literally. It appears that our President wants displays of U.S. military power as part of the new celebration. The parade of military personnel carriers and other vehicles, including tanks unbelievably, will uproot any grass in the area that escapes being mashed into oblivion. The pavement and sub-servicing will be completely destroyed. In other words, the July 4th celebration area may devolve into resembling a war zone. The booming noise from the usual fireworks and, God help us, the possible addition of cannon fire will make it appear to be an active war zone.
What has happened?
My memories of and affection for July 4th celebrations center on the smells of barbecue and burgers sizzling on open grills, while children scamper around the picnic areas laughing and playing even more excitedly than usual, in anticipation of fireworks promised for later. Families and friends sit in lawn chairs or at picnic tables, talking about their families and, in many years, their hopes and confidence in their personal and their country’s future.
For the last few years there weren’t, and for certain this year, there won’t be, as many casual conversations about politics at gatherings, with good-natured teasing directed at others who have opposing views on personalities and priorities. No, this year, over the enticing aromas of Americans’ favorite July 4th party fare and surrounded by the happy sounds of children playing, too many adults may simply sit quietly while eating the delicious Americana foods, rather than bring up any subjects touching on local, state, or national politics. Others may talk about the weather, the food, their jobs, their families — anything other than political remarks that nowadays can lead to heated, hurtful arguments hotter than those burgers and barbecue sizzling on the grill.
All of this brings me back to the focus of my anger about this year’s July 4th celebration and new ceremonies in Washington, DC. Washington is only one city, after all. But it is our nation’s capital city — our nation’s. Shared by all of us. Not to ever be used as background setting for celebrations centered on personalities or politics that divide us from each other.
My emotions and my screen have cooled off for now. But I still am not happy with these July 4th changes I see. Am I the only one who feels this way? Do you agree? And, if you disagree, can we discuss it nicely, quietly, and respectfully?
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