Baby, We’re A Firework

By Jack Canfora

So, fans of calendars will know July 4th is fast approaching, or as we Americans refer to it, July 4th. Or Independence Day, if we’re feeling formal, or referring to the Will Smith/Jeff Goldblum blockbuster from the 90s. I’ve always been a little iffy about this holiday, although I do have a tradition: every year, late on the night on July 3rd, I leave out a mug of ale and tray of pornography for the ghost of Ben Franklin. I also try to eat a lot of cheeseburgers, but that’s more or less a daily tradition with me.

I’m generally not a fan of nationalism; it often ends in tears. And America is deathly allergic about taking an honest look at its past (or even the present many times). But this year, I feel better about celebrating the 4th than normal. First of all, any chance to gather in groups feels wonderful. And, Can’t stress this enough, cheeseburgers.

But for all of our imperfections as a nation (he phrased with supreme understatement), I’ll give our country this: we are, to my knowledge the only nation predicated not on geography, religion, nor common language, but an idea. That we are created equal, and all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those ideas are beautiful ones. Ones we have failed to live up to. Ones we continue to fall well short of. But the idea is an aspirational one, one worth striving for, and as easy as it is be cynical and jaded about our divided nation, especially if you’re hungry and the cheeseburgers aren’t ready yet, things are, overall, as counterintuitive as it may feel, inching a little closer to the goal of true freedom and equality. We have a long, long, LONG way to climb up a steep mountain, but let’s allow ourselves to wait until the 5th to continue tackle those issues as best we can.

It’s OK to feel a communal pride. It’s OK to feel OK this Sunday. At least, that’s what I’ll be trying to do. For a day, anyway.

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15 thoughts on “Baby, We’re A Firework

  1. In a nation where you can only choose between a megalomaniacal billionaire or a corrupt dementing 78 years old politician for president, there isn’t much to celebrate. And the mass shootings keep going on, 200 billionaires control 90 % of the country’s wealth, the education system fails to deliver the qualified people needed in a knowledge economy so they have to be recruited abroad while 85 % of all the lawyers in the world live in the US: all factors that clearly indicate a system failure.

    1. I wouldn’t dispute any of this. But perhaps taking a moment to breathe and remember the ideals we declared as self-evident (and have so far failed to live up to) might help galvanize and energize the lifelong fight we must continue.

  2. There is so much to be grateful for. In most of the world, the protest movements that continually nudge us closer to realizing our ideals would be brutally and terminally suppressed.

    In most of the world, Donald Trump – or maybe Richard Nixon – would have been president for life. America would have a king, just like Russia has a new Czar and China a new Emperor.

    The best and the brightest would not be coming here if they had better options where they came from. I don’t begrudge them their successes, I admire them. Students the world around come to American universities. We are a nation of immigrants after all, no matter what the GOP says.

  3. It’s a great day to remember that we can exercise our right to freedom of thought, and to choose how we see the world. Negative, fearful thinking will create our worst nightmare. Positive, loving thoughts will slowly but surely prove to be the healing balm that we so desperately need. Thoughts are like firey arrows shot out into the universe, that land in the soil of our minds, and plant seeds that will produce a choking tangle of weeds, or a gorgeous garden of beautiful flowers. If enough people in this troubled world turn their thoughts to love instead of fear, unity over divisiveness, we will wake up one day and find ourselves living the dream rather than a nightmare. Keep the faith, friends, and dream on! Happy Independence Day! Great post, Jack. Enjoy those cheeseburgers!

  4. As a non-American, I look at aspects of your society and politics with sadness, as not only does it impact the rest of the world, but, often, it is model that others impose on their own populations.

    However, I also look at your social movements and activists who have helped to creat such a high bar for freedom of speech and pushed forward racial, feminist, gay and other rights and really admire your society too!

  5. Jack Canfora, you nailed it! One of the best pieces I’ve ever read about the 4th of July (or Independence Day). In fact, I laughed; I cried; and I paused (to think deeply).

  6. Jack, No country will ever completely live up to high ideals. There will always be corruption and dirty politics and problems, but I believe that our efforts can reduce the negatives and increase the positives. We must do our best. Happy Fourth! 🙂

  7. You liked a post of mine and I just wanted to say hi! I am developing a Click & Expand Bible Trivia Brand and I don’t know how to set up my website to make money.

    I am trying to set up a way to charge a fee for this service but am lost. I’m new to marketing and things like that. If anyone comes across this and is interested, lmk. Any money made would have to be after orders start coming in.

    Keep up the good posting!!

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