Too pooped to pop

Two hundred forty-five years ago today, some white guys in wigs and funny pants signed a piece of parchment in Philadelphia. It said that they were quitting England. Screw the king, they weren't answering to him any more. They were their own country now. Or at least, they were a bunch of little countries, or states, that weren't part of Great Britain. (They never did get the country-states thing straightened out. It's still a mess.)

Signing that document was a ballsy move. High treason. But they had already been fighting in the streets and in the fields with the British for more than a year, and so I don't think anybody was too shocked that they eventually had a meeting and formalized things over cheese steaks.

It wasn't hard to hate the English, given the way they ruled the world. Cruel, greedy, and arrogant is what they were. Not to mention the baked beans in the breakfast.

The Americans who signed were mostly educated sorts. Most of them could read and write Latin, I'll bet. Fidem clam scit, ha ha, tally ho. Some of them were into the political philosphers of the day, too. So they couched their secession in lofty terms. Equality was a big thing. That and consent of the governed. Oh, and God, of course. God was on their side.

Sixty years ago, we were taught all about it in our little history books. We approached the document they signed with a reverence otherwise reserved only for the Bible. We believed that they believed what they were signing. And we believed it, too. 

But we weren't thinking critically enough. Sister Charles didn't encourage a lot of critical thinking. 

Now we can see it. A lot of the guys who signed the paper were slave owners. And let's face it, our country has replaced England as the most arrogant muthas on the planet. In fact, it was already that way when I first learned civics. It seems worse now, and with all the myths busted, I'm finding it hard to get myself into a party mood.

Up until recently, I always had a soft spot for today, the holiday commemorating the signing. But after the last five years, and particularly the last 16 months, I'm feeling way too beat-up to get into it. Our United States flag is collecting dust in the closet, and even "America the Beautiful," the best of the patriotic tunes, rings hollow right now. I'm more in the mood for some protest songs, the madder the better. Steppenwolf's "Monster" was a good one; I wonder how it's aged.

I hope that one of these years, things will get better, at least enough that I can put aside what I've seen lately and break out the flag again. But this year, I'm too trashed from Trump and Covid to want to celebrate. You know what they say: There is no set timetable for grieving. I think I'm still at the anger-and-bargaining stage.


  1. Sorry you feel that way.
    This is the worst country in the history of civilization — except for all the others. Where would you rather be?
    You don’t want to celebrate the Fourth? You’re not required to. And most of us will not take offense.
    Hope you have a fine day regardless.

  2. I don't know if anyone here was familiar with Hollywood Camera store on 40th and NE Sandy. The man who started it back in the 1950's, Ed Schoneker, was a marvel as was his business. He had been a WWII vet and part of the occupation forces stationed in Japan at the end of the big war. He died in 2019 His business was a gathering place for what I called 'Gear Heads' people who loved photography equipment a little more than photography itself and people like me who still wanted to make pictures the old fashioned way. I bought a lot of my cameras and darkroom equipment from him for years (The Darkroom gear was cheap but not the cameras). I used to get my haircut next door to the business so I used to frequent his shop at least once a month. I hadn't seen him for awhile and my barber told me I should go visit him because he was finally kind of slowing down a bit. I talked with him awhile and asked him how he was doing. He kind of stared in to space and then just said, "All those young boys who gave up their lives, and for what?" Hearing that made me glad my parents never lived to see how easily this country ended up in the hands of a Stooge manipulated by a member of the old Soviet KGB. Mission accomplished.

  3. Slavery obviously is wrong and inhumane, but the idea that only America had slaves and that our slavery was the worst ever is intellectually lazy. And by the way, the last two states to end slavery were both Union states: Kentucky and Connecticut (which is where most of the slave ships operated out of).

    Meanwhile in the real world, over 3 Million people became slaves in the Mediterranean region alone between 1500 and 1800:


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