Saturday, July 5, 2008

We Celebrate Independence Day

Happy 4th of July, one day late. We woke up to a foggy, drizzly sky, but it cleared up enough by afternoon for our annual July 4th parade to wind its way through downtown. Fire trucks, police cars, kids on decorated bikes, and a variety of colorful floats supported the theme of "Faces of Freedom." After a traditional bbq at the hotel, Rich and I stayed up late to watch the fireworks display. Since it does not get dark here till midnight, we can't have fireworks till then! For a small town, we have quite an amazing fireworks show, as we seem to remind ourselves every year. Here are some photos of the parade and the fireworks.

1) funky house on the parade route
2) kids on bikes
3) one of the floats
4) "freedom=independence from oil!"

Many of the floats equated "faces of freedom" with war and weapons, displaying photos of war planes and soldiers as the central focus of their decorations. It made me wonder why people seem to think that freedom only comes through violence and patriotism means blindly supporting our country, no matter what the consequences might be. To me, patriotism means trying to make our country the best it can be, even if that means disagreeing with the government (not a popular point of view these days, I know). I found these quotes that give us some food for thought.

Edward R. Murrow: We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.

Barbara Ehrenreich: No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

George Bernard Shaw: Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it.

Molly Ivins: What you need is sustained outrage...there's far too much unthinking respect given to authority.

George Jean Nathan: Patriotism is a arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles.

H.L. Mencken: The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.

Noam Chomsky: If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise we do not believe in it at all.

Molly Ivins: It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.

Henry Steele Commager: Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive.

James Baldwin: I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.

Pablo Casals: The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?

Dorothy Thompson: It is not the fact of liberty but the way in which liberty is exercised that ultimately determines whether liberty itself survives.

William O. Douglas: Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.

Eleanor Holmes Norton: The only way to make sure people you agree with can speak is to support the rights of people you don't agree with.

George Orwell: In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.

Let's all be true patriots and speak truth to power.

1 comment:

Kristinn said...

I'm definitely printing out this post and hanging it in my cubicle wall...well-written with some of my all-time favorite quotes & sure to hack off some of the folks I work for. LOL!