July 04, 2007

Independence Day?

Once upon a time I pledged allegiance to Richard Stands, as did many of us in the confusion of elementary school in the 1960s. Now, not so much. Right now it seems the best thing we have going for us vs. the United Kingdom is that Congress is not -- assuming the Democrats have some interest in what shreds pass for privacy -- debating a national identity card. The kind with your finger print and iris scan.

If Big Brother wants to know where I live, I'm sure he can get the job done without any further assistance from me. What I want to know is, why do we celebrate our "independence" with what, for all intents and purposes, sounds exactly like the proverbial bombs bursting in air?

Couldn't we try for patriotism with a bit less gunpowder? It is unseemly, the number of soldiers getting blown to shreds in Iraq and elsewhere, and what do we do? We throw a multimillion-dollar fireworks display for the folks at home. Is this the best use of our resources? Would the right wing curl up and mourn without its annual firepower celebration?

I think there are many ways to be patriotic, if one wants. Waving a flag doesn't do it for me. I'd rather stick with fighting for liberty -- justice, though blind, probably has a smirk on her face given the Supreme Court's latest decisions.

Our local Big Brother of Wonderland has pushed through some more laws to protect us from ourselves: no more trans fat in our food, thank you. I never realized a need to legislate food stuffs beyond assuring that they won't result in a nation keeling over from food poisoning. If I knew anything about cooking, or nutrition, I imagine I'd feel some deep seated hostility toward Wonderland's fascist food police.

Then, too, I wonder: Wonderland just passed some noise abatement laws -- including a five-minute limit on the time your dog is allowed to bark. Well, okay; I'd rather have dogs seen but not heard. But that goes for babies, too, and I don't see anyone legislating where and when it is appropriate for your child to have a public meltdown, or how long you have to rescue your child, in whatever form that takes.

And the fireworks: sound like bombs, much? Going off for nearly half an hour tonight? Surely that should fall under the decibel police's province. Or is it only unacceptable when the decibels are not emanating from a so-called public purpose "celebration"? Since Macy's foots the bill for the Grucci brother's handiwork, then beer ads are sold to subsidize the cost of broadcasting the affair, doesn't that take it into private hands? Isn't that where the decibel police come in? What about the folks measuring our carbon footprints?

Mind you, I don't take all of this as seriously as all that. I just happen to like a little less hypocrisy, a few more protected civil rights, in my legal system. I don't think it's going to happen. Happy Independence Day, anyone?

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