The man with flag delighting in what unfolded up on stage, swaying and smiling, to me is what this fourth of July is all about. Mindless, uncritical, innocent, simple and pure pleasure. To enjoy this patriotic display of emotion one has to suspend one's critical function, knowledge of foreign affairs, disdain for two wars and despair in regard to hopes for real change.
I am disgusted with our country that accepts war as reasonable and necessary answer. I hate all this money going in support of war and away from the real needs of the people of the US. (I know several no longer young women personally that are about to lose their homes and all their belongings.) While I do believe in the primary importance of security, I am not even close to being convinced that these wars are necessary. A handful of Taliban in Afghanistan simply do not warrant our endeavors there (to my very limited understanding.) Nuclear power in the wrong hands no doubt must be one of the worst case scenarios. But what if we waged an effort of to build up those nations, got our youths to work for Afghanistan and Iraq rather then fight them. In Iraq the infrastructure is supposedly worse then before the war! What if we gave them more reasons to like then hate us. Which would mean ending the uncritical support (especially financially) of Israel and demanding just solutions that grant rights to the Palestinians. By the way being critical of Israel does not equal wishing them back to Nazi camps. But it is a well known fact that those that suffered trauma tend to inflict trauma, unless they got debriefed. Without US financial support Israel would likely have had to find a solution for peace already.
Sadly, while I was proud at the election of our President Obama and felt maybe for the first time patriotic stirrings, I no longer feel that way. I fault our president for not being able to convince us of the necessity of those wars and not getting us out of there either. The health care reform that did come to pass lacks a public option, because President Obama did not stand and fight for it. While it does good for a few, I see it mainly as a give-away to corporate greed. The poor will now have to come up with insurance money they will not be able to afford, because the power is still with the corporations rather then the people.
Further I bemoan that our President is not using the oil 'spill' for serious efforts to advance clean, green and renewable energy. It seems like so many good opportunities to forge ahead towards a more sustainable, peaceful existence fall by the way side and with it the goodwill of so many that not so long ago were so eager and ready to embrace and work for change. All this said, I am greatly relieved to find President Bush out of the picture and out of the news.
Finally I had a wonderful time hanging out on the plaza watching the lines for pancakes get longer, the non-organic strawberry toppings getting fewer, and the canine companions that made it passed security, illegally, behaving sweetly.