The 4th of July just happened, and for a few days, I thought I was on the verge of some kind of mental breakdown or something. It bothers me every year, but I think my tolerance for it these days is mediocre at best. I thought I would avoid writing about it, because I didn't want to cause a fuss or whatever. But then I thought, screw that! This is my blog! I can write whatever 'I want to. Isn't that why I started this thing in the first place?
So if you want to know what has been deeply troubling me lately (namely my thoughts about the 4th of July), which I'm assuming you do, seeing as you didn't scroll past this section yet, here they are: I hate it, frankly. I think it is possibly the worst holiday of all the holidays, except for maybe Thanksgiving. Because here's the thing. I just can't really back a holiday that is founded on shitty things. And I can't back it, even if everyone else does. Even if no one understands. And even if it means losing respect from people I care about. (I hope people mean more than silly holidays, and that a love for humanity, not patriotism, trumps all. I hope that if you care about me, you will listen to my opinion with open ears and an open heart, and not necessarily agree, but respect me for my beliefs nonetheless. I hope as humans, we can give that to each other.) (To my mormon friends: I imagine you may feel this way too re your religious beliefs. Despite how many people are doing something, it doesn't necessarily make it right.)
I can't just jump on this bandwagon of red white and blue and fireworks and pies, pretending everything is ok when it's not, toting a gratefulness for my freedoms, when I know that 1. this country is not really free and 2. the freedoms we do have come at the expense of others' freedoms. I'm not claiming to be well-versed in politics, nor do I believe that I know much at all. I have conservative, liberal, and anarchist friends alike who would all blow me out of the water in political conversation. And I'm sorry, I don't have quotes or links or any fancy sources for you. In my defense, this is a blog, not a thesis. But here is what I believe. I believe in a world without borders, where there are no nations and people are truly free to travel the earth which doesn't actually belong to humans, let alone specific people, let alone only wealthy people. It's pretty crazy to think that we pretend to own it. I mean, who do we think we are that we can own the freaking earth?! No nations means that patriotism and nationalism can be replaced with a love for humans, living things, nature, and the earth. I also believe that true freedom does not come at the expense of other people; I don't call if freedom unless others are free. Think Nazi Germany, which boasted great freedom for some (unless you were Jewish). Similarly, the USA boasts freedom above all other nations (but please only enjoy the freedom if you are "legal," straight, christian, white, middle class, and speak good English.) Do you see where I'm going with this?
The United States is a country founded on oppression, slavery, mass genocide, destruction of land, and disrespect for anyone and anything that was different. Hopefully you know what I am referring to, but if you don't, here is a laundry list of examples: the slaughter and killing off of native peoples; slavery of africans; segregation, discrimination, and oppression of people of color; oppression of women; oppression of, at different times, Irish catholics, protestants, mormons, jews, and muslims; mistreatment of migrant workers. WHY do we celebrate that? WHY would we want to? Seriously, please tell me why. And don't say that we are celebrating service people who died for our freedoms, because I believe that is the biggest cop out answer ever. The 4th of July, also known as Independence day, is the day we celebrate the creation of this nation. This historically oppressive, violent nation which has done so many terrible things. I get that I have privileges and freedoms (which sadly everyone does not share, and of which the very country we celebrate deprives people every day). But honestly, I would like someone to name the freedoms I enjoy as an "American" that are unique to America. What are they? I guarantee if you think hard about it, you will realize that the United States has far fewer freedoms than you thought and also that many other countries also, in fact, have those same things. So for the love of god, can we please stop acting like the US is the greatest thing in the world? Can we please have a little awareness of what it actually means to be an American?
If you read that mass of nonsense, bravo and thank you. Thank you for letting me release that, get it off my chest, and maybe share a new perspective. Because I feel sometimes that that is all I can do. Here are some photos of Goat Lake.
(Jon and I celebrated having an extra day off work by going on a lovely hike, which kicked my butt, but was so worth it. We ended at an Alpine lake named Goat.)