A lot of people this year not feeling like celebrating America’s birthday.
I feel you, I do. But hear me out.
The 4th of July as America’s birthday has always seemed off to me. The Declaration of Independence did not signal the start of freedom for our citizens. It did not begin an age of unalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. And we know this.
We all know this. We know that slavery continued well after the Revolutionary War was won. We know that the genocide of Native Americans continued. We know about the concentration camps for Japanese Americans. I could go on. I could name different atrocities for every non-caucasian ethnicity and never stray from detailing the actions of our own government. But I don’t think you need me to.
We learned about these things in grade school, even before there was mainstream talk about decolonizing our education. We learned about them right alongside of learning the bullshit line that the Revolutionary War made us all free. So we know. We all know.
(Some know that slavery continues; some know that genocide continues. Some know that the system racism that built our country still shapes all of us today.)
So the Declaration of Independence may have signaled the intent to create a free country, but we are not there yet, we never have been, and we still have a long way to go.
We’re still in gestation. The Declaration was just a letter of intent, an announcement that we’re going to try to create something awesome here. But that something has not yet been born. We are not yet the land of the free.
And finally, it’s becoming obvious to more people. (I’m looking at us, white women… but also some white men.)
Finally, maybe, we’re ready to build something.
Finally, maybe, enough of us are angry.
Personally I find the timing – the enraging reduction of so many Americans’ basic human rights just days before Independence Day – ironic? Convenient? Interesting? Curious? Eerily parallel? Indicative the America can’t get its shit together after (hang on I gotta math) …246 years?
So I’m all for celebrating the 4th this year. I’m all for celebrating it the same way the founding fathers did – by doing whatever we need to do to make this a free country, for the first time.
That's why I'm putting useful recipes in my new designs. Please feel free to disseminate.
Full disclosure: I’m writing this from a place of privilege. I’m white. I’m practically a woman (or at least that’s how I move through the world and how the world sees me), but I don’t have a uterus because I was lucky enough (?) to have a medical condition that allowed me to convince a doctor to give me a hysterectomy, despite only having multiple counts against me for that (only one child, not married at the time, and I was only maybe 31 or 32 years old).
So yeah. Privilege. And maybe that’s coloring my perspective in a way that’s not useful. If you think it is, tell me. I want to hear it.