Nationalism is our form of incest, is our idolatry, is our insanity. “Patriotism” is its cult.
--Erich Fromm, The Sane Society
It’s that unfortunate time of year when the tired, depleted landscape inexplicably sprouts rickety plywood-and-chickenwire shacks, manned by religionist fanatics and/or vacuously stupid college students peddling cheesy Chinese-made engines of noise and stink. Somewhere within this cloying reek of commerce and greed -- generating a palpable funk of enthusiastic ignorance that nearly gives the smog a run for its money -- lies, in all its dilapidated and largely unexamined glory, some notion that this spasmodic convergence of ear-splitting explosions, a stench not unlike (I would imagine) that which turgidly wafts from Lucifer’s underpants, and the pathetic accumulation of dollars, has something to do with “independence” or “political democracy.” The complex relationship between these things is enough to completely defeat the cognitive abilities of most people. Including my own, such as they are.
By all means, let’s “celebrate” American Independence Day with as much of a gunpowder-flavored racket as possible, swilling and gluttonously stuffing our already over-fed selves into rapturous stupors, spitting out drunkenly fulsome odes and sow-bellied declarations of undying loyalty to a nation-state that never was. Let’s not stoop to reflect on the actual nature of the Cheneyist hellhole trying desperately to give birth to itself; let’s just pretend that the Founders and their high-falutin’ documents still mean anything, if they ever did. Whatever you do, though, don’t allow the multitudinous victims of American benevolence and idealism -- not to mention our love of peace, freedom, and democracy -- to inject a note of discordance into our raucous symphony of self-indulgent excess. Drink up -- it’s not that difficult to shut your eyes and ears to the horror of Iraqi children covered with white phosphorous, or Afghani wedding parties blown to pieces, or the death rattle of young GI’s puzzling over the circumstances that drove them towards such a fate. Come on, people, you ignore this shit all the time. Just enjoy yourselves!
I’ll tell you -- if I actually had a US flag, I’d “celebrate” by burning the fucking thing. But then, since it would likely be made in China, the extra poisonous fumes produced by the uranium-soaked thread and the lead-based paint, and all the other crap that was supposed to end up as dog food or toothpaste, would probably waste an untold number of loyal Americans downwind. I guess I’ll just get loaded instead.