That’s it. It’s time to throw in the towel with Independence Day until everyone is finished with these bullshit shenanigans. Somehow, the Fourth of July has managed to fall into a position in which it means even less than the blatantly offensive Columbus Day. And Columbus Day is a day taken for one of the worst people who ever lived, a man who our public schools mythologize as if he were Perseus, and don’t tell you a single kernel of true information about.
The only major holiday of the summer has turned into a platform of grandstanding on whatever soapbox is available. It’s the day people either love or hate the United States the most and accuse any and all dissenters of being either racist or, well, uh, racist. (Yeah, the favored form of libel from the left has now been flipped around and become a weapon for the right as well. It’s like trench warfare. That, however, is another essay for another time.)
Once upon a time, the Fourth of July was one of the easiest days in the world. It never felt like there was any form of political polarization. Instead, the Fourth was the one day a year when everyone was able to put they’re political differences off to the side and celebrate the things this country actually gets right. Call it another side effect of the internet, but everything that was once good about Independence Day is long gone. Independence Day is another regular day, when you keep quiet and actively avoid all mentions of your home country – or any country at all – out of fear that whatever you have to say may be a loaded phrase.
Politicking has turned into a serious spectator sport in this country, and not in a good way. There are some people who are lifelong political hobbyists who enjoy all the little quirks and nuances of politics, and they’re the ones who frequently turn out to be the most knowledgeable. If you have a serious question about a particular stance or candidate, those are the people you flag down who will tell you everything there is to know. If you’re sitting on the fence about something in particular, those political hobbyists are life savers, because they’re the ones who can tell you all the minute details which will help you decide which policies are good or not.
People like that were a fringe people before the internet came along and provided everyone with a ready resource of useful information about everything politics. Now that the internet can call off all bets, political hobbyists…. Are still on the fringe. The difference is that now everyone takes views of politics like they see their favorite sports team, and therefore everyone has turned into the Monday Morning Quarterback. No shit is given to the little details that can make politicking a lot harder than it looks to the layman. Apparently, every politician – especially the president – is equipped with a magic want that can cut through all the checks and balances and all the legal jargon and technical jibberish that makes politics a giant Chess match.
Worse than that, they’re expected to cut through common human decency as well. I’m sure this is very easy to do when you have a thousand miles of nothing but milktoast white suburbs lying as a buffer between a voter and the real world, but getting to know different types of people is a real monkey wrench in polarizing political thought once you do it. Humanism is that thread that can take what should be an obvious and pragmatic choice of law or bill and cause its writers to add a few more lines of legalese.
Independence Day is now the day when all the resentment starts to foam over. We can be civil every other day of the year, but come the Fourth, we regress into comic book stock characters. Nuance runs off, and suddenly the country is either Saint Paul or Hitler. Maybe it’s time to call it off so there’s one less thing that pisses everyone off.