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Writer's Block: How do you celebrate Independence Day in your country? - Caffeination / Livejournal Notebook
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Writer's Block: How do you celebrate Independence Day in your country?



For real - they asked this. Somebody did, at any rate, and a fair number of non-Americans were amazed by this. Who can blame them? Does anybody ever ask how we celebrate Victoria Day (whatever that is) in the United States? Canada is just one country over, and who even knows what that day is? I will in a few seconds, because now I have to look that up ... Queen Victoria's birthday?! They celebrate that? I suppose they must have their reasons.

I live in Chicago, so Independence Day does apply to us, sort of, but really, there's not much to it. One watches a fireworks show, and that's nice, but it's over before one knows it, and the crowd is left with a lot of energy and nothing to do with it, as everybody goes home for the evening. Only, in Chicago, we don't even really have the fireworks, any more, because the previous mayor got rid of the city's third of July display. Yes, we celebrate the fourth on the third. That way, people could see the big show downtown, and then go see their neighborhood displays the next day. Now, we go out to the Suburbs, where towns one twentieth of the size of Chicago put on shows we can no longer seem to manage, ourselves.

As always, there is a lot of brassy, martial music played over loudspeakers, which I try to ignore, never having like Souza, and restless celebrants at the end of the night, clogging the streets, pouring around vehicles which aren't going anywhere for the next 20 minutes. It's an amusing bit of chaos, but one can be left feeling a little empty by it, because it's an impersonal sort of chaos, nobody really speaking with or interacting with anybody else. Whether that's America's way, in general, or just Chicago's, I don't know.

Part of the problem, I suppose, is the understanding that we all are suppose to deny, but nobody can really escape. The only time that being an American really means anything is when America wants something from one. There is barely the pretense, any more, that the government cares about the well being of its citizenry, or that the members of the citizenry care about each other. We're celebrating our membership in a community that hasn't existed in our lifetimes, if it ever did. The celebration is a lie, and almost everybody knows it, but it's a big, flashy, pretty lie, so we go watch the soulless lights in the sky, and do our best to say as little about the experience as there really is to be said.

If you want to call that a celebration, I suppose that nobody is stopping you.





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