I have had conflicted feelings about 4th of July since I was a kid. I remember listening to the song "Proud to be an American" and feeling sad because the song was so passionate, and I kept wondering when I would feel proud of my country, too. Like, one day, I would have the history lesson that taught me once and for all how awesome America really is, and I'd be like, "Yes, this is the best place on the planet and I'm super glad I live here."
Now, mind you, I'm not super UN-glad I live here. There are way, way, way, way, way, way shittier places to live. We do have a lot of freedoms people in other countries don't. But we also have to put up with a lot of crap that people in other countries don't (like not being able to afford going to the doctor when we're sick, for one).
So I've always spent the 4th of July enjoying the fireworks, but feeling like the odd man out in a sea of genuine patriotism.
But at least until recently, we'd been going to the Botanical Gardens, where the Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestra would play Sousa songs and a bunch of other stuff that at least makes me feel proud of the music that's come out of this country.
Last night, I had to watch the fireworks while listening to the words "Won't buy nothin' that he can't fix with WD-40 and a Craftsman wrench." Yes. That is why it's great to live in this country. WD-40.
Another song was all, "This is American and everybody gets to dance," and I couldn't help thinking, "Unless you're gay, or you need an abortion, or you would like affordable access to birth control, or you are trying to live off of minimum wage, etc., etc."
So listening to this music that's all, "I'm super proud to be an ignorant red-neck," it makes it all the more difficult to feel the pride you're supposed to feel, and it makes me feel really weird for sitting around watching the fireworks and attempting to enjoy them.
What I love about 4th of July is that it's another excuse to spend time with my mom and my little sister, but it's a holiday I would be perfectly happy to bow out of celebrating.