Yes, I was born on the Fourth of July, during the fireworks and all. I share my birthday with Uncle Sam lovers and bald eagle enthusiasts; I share my birthday with America.
I’ve never been fond of the shared celebration though. In my childhood, and from my childish point of view, I rarely got to spend my birthday with friends because they were off celebrating with their families. Even when I was celebrating with my family, there were hoards of people I didn’t know. As a kid, the holiday that brought Americans together to kick off the summer was only a day that overshadowed me. I do blame most of my aversion for this holiday on the fact that I was born on it.
But I’ve grown up. I’ve matured. I’ve gotten out of that bratty, selfish state, only to continue disliking America’s birthday.
Having a better grasp on this country’s history and the damage we have created, both on our own land and on the grounds of others, I am turned off by the cockiness of Americans on the Fourth of July. I understand that every country should have a sense of pride, but dressed head-to-toe in red, white, and blue, and guzzling beer by the pints, I’ve always thought that Americans were oblivious to the growth that this country needs.
To me, America’s Independence Day overshadows the people who actually founded this country and the people who take great value in what this country has to offer. It’s a holiday that celebrates the whiteness of America, the set of rights that are constantly taken out of context (I’m talking to you, Second Amendment), and it’s a chance to overlook the damage we have created and the damage that is likely to come.
The Fourth of July is nothing but a way to avoid the truth: America is not the greatest country in the world. We have to stop the naivety and come to terms with the fact that a lot of work needs to be done in order for America to be qualified as “great” again.
And I don’t mean voting for Donald Trump in November.
Reach Development Editor Sarah Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @slagoanderson