Sunday, July 03, 2005

4th of July Weekend

Surrounded by the exploding sounds of illegal fireworks, I spent the night huddled in my house like a refugee in a bunker.

The Fourth used to be my favorite holiday when I was a kid on the farm, eating sweet Oklahoma corn and watermelon chilled to 33 degrees in the milk cooler, blowing up cow pies with firecrackers, and going to town to watch the traditional patriotic parade and fireworks display.

Now I can barely stand it. I live in the geographical middle between three Indian reservations, notorious yearly purveyors of unsafe and insane explosives. The neighborhood children, aided and abetted by slacker parents who ought to know better, are out until midnight or later every night setting off exploding bottle rockets, "whistling pete" spin-bombs that sound like incoming mortar rounds, Chinese firecrackers that sound like AK-47s on full automatic and just about everything in between.

The Fourth of July is the most patriotic of holidays, the day on which we celebrate the birth of our country. Never mind the historical trivia that it wasn't really the 4th, etc., this country was something new on the scene, and it really was something to celebrate.

Sadly, this year we really don't have a lot to celebrate. The freedoms that we have taken for granted in this country are being taken away, slowly but surely, piece by piece, with every Patriot Act so-called "security" measure passed by Congress and signed by the president. I can't help but think of the famous Benjamin Franklin quote, that those who would trade their freedom for security deserve neither and will lose both.

I'm intending to fight back as long as I am still standing. As usual, Jack Dalton has it nailed. See his Declaration of Independence for the 21st Century. I can't add anything except my sincere thanks to Jack for posting this.

All of you, have a happy 4th of July and relax for a couple of days. After the holiday it's back to the real work, lobbying our Senators to prevent a radical wing-nut religious-fundamentalist constitution-in-exile activist judge from ascending to the throne of the Supreme Court. It's going to be a hard fight, and we must be ready for it. The future of our country for the next 40 years depends on it.