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July 4, 2010

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I'm ambivalent about the 4th of July. On the one hand, what's not to like
about self-determination and throwing off the shackles of tyranny? But
when the observance is drained of revolutionary significance and becomes
instead a jingoistic celebration of pseudopatriotic we're-number-one-ism I
begin to feel the icy fingers of despair creeping up the back of my neck.

Music is freedom and every Sunday
3 or 4 of us gather to play in a practice
space which happens to afford a good
view of the local fireworks extravaganza
so we stepped outside for a break and
took in the display of ballistic prowess.
Larger concussions set off car alarms
and I couldn't stop thinking about what
less benign American explosions mean
to innocents in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Guantanamo, rendition, assassination,
torture, wiretaps, PATRIOT ACT...
It made me wonder what people were
celebrating. Were they worshipping
the corpse of democratic ideals or
just giving tacit approval to fascism
at home and imperial wars abroad?

After the show I breakdanced on the
sidewalk (I'm really not bad). People
largely ignored it. This wasn't in the
script, they hadn't received a txt msg.
They passed by, consciously oblivious.
That pretty much answered my question.