Here we are. Another American Fourth of July. Another reason for awkward family “get togethers”. Another chance to throw some RBGH onto the grill. A free pass to pollute the air with mini fires in a tube. A chance to increase your chances to visit the ER and hang with drunk drivers, reckless rednecks missing limbs and victims of circumstance.
I have never truly enjoyed this holiday. Now…it would be easy to call me Un- American and to tell me that if I don’t like it, then get tha’ fuck OUT! I wouldn’t say I’m UnAmerican…just a little sickened by how our country operates. The 4th of July only adds to that sickness.
Over the past few months I’ve had the American experience of visiting BOTH of the “BUY and Large” bulk corporation outlets: Sam’s and Costco. My Father in law took my family and I to Costco to stock up on dry goods for our pantry. My Mother in law later took us to Sam’s to do the same. Both in laws have memberships to these super stores. We tailed them in and broke into the super secret bulk buying club. I felt a twinge inside my stomach to be one of the many supporters of the super club. I always wish that I could buy ONLY locally…but unfortunately, in today’s society, that is not an easy feat. So, there I was…inside the beast.
Inside each of these stores, I saw fireworks for sale…in bulk. The cheapest bulk buy for fireworks could be purchased for a mere $500. Now…what does this say about our culture? Americans will spend money on explosives to show their “love” of this country. They will spend enough on the mega fireworks pack for it to be profitable for the bulk-o-rama store to keep in stock. They will celebrate being “Free”…but do they really have their eyes opened to what this country has REALLY become? Will they ever see that they are only under the illusion of free? Will winds of change blow through in my lifetime or the lifetimes of our children?
To add further stress to this little disagreement that I have with our country’s mindset…My family is having a little southern “get together” today at my Mama’s house (yes: “Mama”). I received notice of this “celebration” via a Facebook event invite. If I go, I’ll get to eat some unhappy cow meat and baked beans. I’ll get to listen to awkward sexual jokes from my Mama’s redneck boyfriend, Rick James (no shit, that is REALLY his name. REALLY.) I’ll miss the pleasure of being oogled by his drunken redneck ass. I’ll be deprived of my Mother showing love in the only way she knows how: by buying shit and giving it/feeding it to me. I’ll miss having to chase my toddler around the yard adjacent to a busy road…without help. *sigh. Family issues, dude. The holidays always remind me of the dysfunction surrounding ours. The dysfunction that somehow only I can see…and that makes me a snobbish, big headed prude.
So why bother? Why should I show up to this last minute planned, Facebook invited event? Because I feel obligated? Because I hope that MAYBE something will be different this time? I imagine that PERHAPS I’ll be able to finally unleash my internal fury over how many issues I have to deal with because of my Mother ONTO my mother? Really tell her how I feel for once?
I feel as if my family doesn’t even know who I am anymore. This is a valid concern, as I rarely ever see them. Birthdays and holidays are usually a given…but why? Why should we pretend that we are a caring family unit? Why must we mope along and get together and play nice? How much longer will I be able to play nice?
Will we ever be able to sit around and talk about things that I feel really matter? Can we discuss our country’s failing future this Fourth of July? Perhaps discuss how corporations are genetically altering our food and causing cancer in our bodies? Maybe come up with a plan for a family reserve of food that we have grown together? Can we talk about how our country has allowed the American lifestyle to be almost completely dependent on petroleum products, oil, corn and pre-packaging? Dreams.
I have held onto hope for far too long that my family, particularly my Mother, will ever be able to change her backwards ways. I have worked for a few years now to erase the damage that I feel she has passed on to me throughout my childhood and now into my adulthood. Now that I have children, the urge to purge is becoming more and more powerful. Will I allow my children to be around someone I feel has influenced me for worse? Over HOT DOGS? When will it end?
As for America…go ahead, play-play along. Shoot your fireworks, drink too much beer, cook some poisoned meat and CELEBRATE! Pretend while you still can. Maybe I will join you, or maybe I will be the one who pisses in your potato chips with words of warning. Where does the line of sight end for people like me?
I hold onto the hope that sits on the horizon. The hope that one day I will find myself surrounded with people who believe the same things I do about our future. Perhaps one Fourth of July, I won’t have to worry about feeling obligated to celebrate a false freedom. Perhaps I will be the definition of FREE that I feel is true. Hopefully there will be others who will awaken to this new sense of freedom…and we will celebrate with fire pits cooking fresh caught fish and newly culled chicken vs. fireworks offering a few seconds of visual pleasure and a garbage bag full of ageless waste.
So…from all this, I ask you the question: What is your definition of freedom for the future?
I view freedom as living in a community on a piece of property that we own together. A piece of property that is immune from peering eyes, zombie takeovers and yearly fees. I envision freedom as a chance to live off of the land in a home that is unique to the hands of the community’s building talents. Freedom is a chance for every day to involve a bit of gardening, a touch of laughter, and a smiling demeanor, all welcomed by the morning dew.
The perfect day of freedom would include the silence of clothes drying on the clothesline, sunlight brushing our shoulders, vegetables gathered in a basket, and air flowing through an open window to an empty earthen structure.
The perfect night of freedom would be surrounded by friends, nourishment and a nearby play tent filled with sleeping children…all dreaming of tomorrow’s adventure.
Independence Day…it is coming, but it is not today.