Obligatory Holiday Post
Posted by PintofStout on July 3, 2008
Revolutions have happened several times in history, in the history of the United (sometimes) States (why bother?) of America even. Some revolutions fail, most are followed by counter-revolutions. Not all revolutions are waged as fighting wars; some are strickly political. The upcoming holiday is a quaint remembrance of a successful revolution that was followed by a counter-revolution so sneaky nobody really noticed, apparent in the continued celebrations of said defunct revolution. Imagine an independence celebration in South Carolina every December 20th for the last 147 years. It would seem silly now, right?
I get the same silly feeling when folks celebrate July 4th. Sure, we threw off the oppresive hand of an overseas monarch, but ended up with the hand of a much closer Big Brother. Where is the individual independence fought for in the laws that attempt dictate how one can celebrate his *snicker* independence? Celebrate your freedom. Go ahead, I dare you. There is more patriotism in breaking legislated law than in obeying it. For this reason, a multitude of people are celebrating a dead letter.
The celebrations themselves are not futile. Picnincs with family and various traditions of that sort are always valuable, regardless of the reason. The patriotic slogans and empty speeches ring hollow, though, from the disconnected rhetoric of the plunderers of that long ago revolution.
We teach them to take their patriotism at second-hand; to shout with the largest crowd without examining into the right or wrong of the matter–exactly as boys under monarchies are taught and have always been taught. We teach them to regard as traitors, and hold in aversion and contempt, such as do not shout with the crowd, and so here in our democracy we are cheering a thing which of all things is most foreign to it and out of place–the delivery of our political conscience into somebody else’s keeping. This is patriotism on the Russian plan.
– Mark Twain, a Biography