I hope everyone will be safe today. My family and I are going to our relatives down in Redondo Beach where it is a lovely 76 degrees (as opposed to our 112 degree weather we have here) to watch the fireworks and gorge ourselves on festive eats.
The 4th of July used to be one of my favorite holidays. I grew up in corn country so every 4th I used to go out and test the "Knee High by 4th of July" theory with my dad. He'd stand out there and if it wasn't to his knee he'd say it was going to be a bad year or if it was over his knee he'd say it was going to be a good year. Then we'd head a town over to pick a spot at the park and watch the fireworks. Every now and then we'd drive to Omaha to Rosenblatt Stadium to watch the fireworks there on the hood of our car and we'd listen to the music that accompanied it. We'd eat hamburders and hot dogs and I'd chase my young cousin with sparklers and we'd smash pop-pops on the sidewalks.
Then as I got older I loved the history behind it. How we fought against the Mother Country for our freedom. The noble Fathers of our nation lost everything they owned, people they loved were killed and then somehow they created a skeleton for the people after them to build upon and bring about "the greatest country in the world."
But as I have gotten older I have become more and more aware that those "Fore Fathers" are just as mythical as the freedom we claim to have. Until just recently anyone who was homosexual in certain states were not allowed to marry. How free can you be if you can't even proclaim your love for someone and it be recognized by someone besides yourself, while others can marry whomever they choose and it be recognized globally?
I am a woman and if I so chose to have an abortion because I become pregnant and cannot care of the child and refuse to subject it to the adoption/foster care system I am forced by my government to have that baby. There is a whole body of MEN, who don't know me, have never met me and apparently don't give a rats ass about me trying to decide what is right for ME. How free am I if I cannot do with my body as I wish?
In Texas just last week Wendy Davis, a Democratic senator stood up in front of hundreds of people, many of them State government officials and spoke for 13 hours without food, water, a break to use the restroom or any type of relief from speaking in an effort to stop a bill from passing in the state of Texas that would shut down thousands of women's clinics. Just before midnight, the entire body of State officials called an illegal vote after midnight and there was a complete uproar. Hundreds of people charged the steps of the Capitol Building and began protesting. Many of those protesters were arrested even though it is their "right" as an "American Citizen" to protest, to speak out against their government and hold them accountable for their actions. Yet, they were denied that right and instead granted a free meal and an overnight hotel stay in the big house known as County Lock-Up.
That same bill that Wendy Davis talked for 13 hours straight to filibuster will be back up for "debate" as the Republican government in Texas is supposed to hold another special session and that bill is sure to be on it. You can read more in an article by the Washington Post.
But I can't celebrate 4th of July like I used to. It doesn't hold the same aw and wonder that it used to. Because I live in the land of the supposedly free instead of the land of the free as proclaimed in song. People in this country are still oppressed by their government. Certain unalienable rights that were promised to us are still not in our grasp.
So go out and celebrate your independence if you think you've got it, because from where I sit and what I've learned in all my 24 almost 25 years of life is that NOTHING in life is free.
Happy 4th of July.