I have always loved the Fourth of July, but it hasn't been the same these past few years.
In 2003, I was in Dick Cheney's hometown of Casper, Wyoming, visiting relatives. We went to the fireworks and I couldn't help but realize the parallels between the pyrotechnics and the "shock and awe" we had rained on Baghdad a few months before. My angst was compounded by the patriotic tunes accompaying the show were broadcast by a radio station owned by Clear Channel - the same folks who had banned the Dixie Chicks for exercising free speech a few months before.
Last year was a bit better. We went to the Boise Hawks game - as we will tonight - and enjoyed our nation's pasttime and a fine, less-jingoistic fireworks display. (Any fireworks synchronized to Norah Jones are OK by me.) I read the Declaration of Independence and focused especially on this passage: That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government. Could there be any doubt over what we needed to do on Election Day? Unfortunately, despite challenging the most inept and damaging presidency of our lifetime, John Kerry was unable to make the case for change.
So here we are. It's July 4, 2005, eight months after the election, and my feelings are decidedly mixed. On one hand, many who voted for Bush last year are finally realizing the mistake they made. On the other, we have dug ourselves in so deep on both military and monetary matters that it's hard to imagine how we're going to pull ourselves free.
At times like this, the best thing to do is re-charge one's batteries. I've spent much of this long weekend dozing, reading, and riding my bike. But tomorrow, the fight resumes. No matter what happens in the months and years to come, the important thing is to stay aware, stay engaged, and stay on the case. Our country's future depends on it.