Happy 4th of July from all of us at the Shattered Lens!
Usually, when it comes to the holidays, it falls upon the TSL’s ennui-stricken kitty, Doc, to wish you a happy one. But I like to handle the Independence Day posts because they provide a chance for me to offer up some advice. If you live in the city or the suburbs, give it a rest with the fireworks! I mean, a few fireworks are okay but if you’re still shooting them off at three in the morning, you’re an asshole. End of story. And don’t tell me that it’s because you love America because anyone who truly loved this country wouldn’t be keeping its citizens awake at four in the a.m.
I would also say this. Check on your pets and your neighbors. As much as most of us love fireworks, they can be terrifying for animals and for people suffering from PTSD. I guess what I’m saying is treat each other with a little bit of respect.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. I understand why — especially after the previous year that so many have suffered through — many people are going to be tempted to go a bit overboard celebrating this Independence Day. I’m planning on celebrating it myself. I’m a Texas girl and, though I’m currently happily taking part in city life, I’m also enough of a country girl that I can understand the appeal of blowing stuff up. My family loves fireworks. I don’t think there’s a single fireworks stand in Oklahoma that hasn’t been hit up by one of my cousins at one point or another. I’ll be watching fireworks tonight, assuming it doesn’t rain.
I will admit that I love the whole ritual of Independence Day. I love getting together with family. I love the cook outs. I love the fireworks, as I mentioned before. Even the oppressive July heat really doesn’t bother me. Last year, because of the pandemic, all of my usual Independence Day traditions were cancelled and I spent the weekend at a cabin up at Lake Texoma. I got to watch fireworks explode over the water. It was a beautiful sight and I’m glad that I go to do something but it still didn’t feel quite right. Independence Day is perhaps the only day of the year when I don’t hate crowds.
Don’t get me wrong, of course. Independence Day, for me, does not mean blindly worshipping the government. (I certainly won’t be doing that as long as our current administration is in power.) Nor does it mean ignoring some of the troubling realities of America’s past. If you’re someone who refuses to celebrate Independence Day, that’s your right and I support you, regardless of how much fun I’m going to have today. No one should be forced to celebrate anything and nothing makes me cringe more than when I see people doing the whole, “This person dared to criticize America on her birthday!” routine. The whole point of Independence Day is that everyone has the right not to celebrate it, if they so choose.
So, do what you want this Independence Day! But, seriously, go easy on the late night fireworks, okay?