week we celebrate July 4th with rounds of festivities marking our
nation’s 242 years of independence. And, scenes of
hyper-patriotism will be on display, too.
will be singing the "Star Spangled Banner" or reciting the
Pledge of Allegiance or reenacting the Continental Congress of 1776
or simply watching reproductions of the "rockets red glare and
bombs bursting in air." All of this and more will be done on a
grander and more highly commercialized scale to show ourselves, and
the world, our mettle to “Make America Great Again.”
a consequence of America’s need to showcase her nativist spirit
of patriotism, it comes at the expense of fundamental freedoms and
protections denied to various disenfranchised, vulnerable, and
historically marginalized populations in the country and immigrants.
example, Trump’s indefensible immigration policy of criminally
punishing undocumented immigrants crossing the border from Mexico
into the U. S. highlights how Trump’s "zero-tolerance"
policy means zero humanity. - first separating children from their
families, even a child while being breastfed, to now locking up
families together indefinitely in detention centers.
example, the litmus test of American patriotism in sports these days
is whether or not you stand for the national anthem, ignoring that
the protest started as a statement against police brutality and
systemic racism. However, since 9/11 the militarization of our sports
culture has created a sports-military complex that now many white
fans come not only for the entertainment but they come to display
fidelity to police and the military, too.
Trump now having an opening to appoint a pro-life Supreme Court
justice to the bench in the hope of overturning “Roe v. Wade”
women’s reproductive justice issues will no longer be of
serious consideration, impacting predominately poor, disabled and
women of color.
is already an erosion of LGBTQ civil rights under the guise of
religious liberty. A new Trump Supreme Court justice will likely go
after “Obergefell v. Hodges,” returning same-sex marriage
to the states.
Trump bloviates his isolationist rhetoric to “Make America
Great Again” our democracy hangs in the balance, revealing both
its hypocrisy and its inhumanity. However, this is not the first time
America’s Independence Day celebration didn't include all its
am reminded, for example, of the African-American abolitionist
Frederick Douglass' (1818-1895) historic speech, "What, to the
slave, is the Fourth of July?" In it, he stated to a country in
the throes of slavery, "What have I, or those I represent, to do
with your national independence. . . I am not included within the
pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only
reveals the immeasurable distance between us. . . This Fourth of July
is yours, not mine.”
a lesbian American, one of our most significant moments of patriotism
in this last century was the Stonewall Riot of June 27-29, 1969, in
Greenwich Village, New York City. And, as an African American, I am
proud to live up to what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in
his Montgomery Bus Boycott speech on December 5, 1955, “The
great glory of American democracy is the right to protest for right."
patriotism is narrowly defined, as it is today, it can only be
accepted and exhibited within the constraints of its own intolerance,
and narrow worldview, like Trump’s travel ban (a.ka. Muslim
Ban), upheld last week by SCOTUS in a 5-4 decision.
patriotism is suffused with conservative or fundamentalist tenets of
Christianity. It waves the flag of “God, Guns, and Glory”
that's sadly shaping today’s American landscape. Perhaps that’s
why when America’s school-age children ask for gun reform at
the “March for Our Lives” rally held in the nation’s
capitol, our government is willing to spend more money arming
teachers with guns than supplying them with textbooks and computers.
September 11 America has changed radically. America’s
acceptance of racially and religiously profiling Muslims or those who
look like or who worship like Muslims is all done in the name of
patriotism, but it is really
and hatred of the “other” and is un-American.
this ugliness has imploded on us.
have become a country where partisan politics rule the day that we
can no longer agree to disagree and shouting matches laced with
expletives has taken the place of civil discourse.
of our most famous American Revolution heroes is Patrick Henry. His
famous final words, “Give me liberty or give me death,”
in his speech on March 23, 1775, explained how he viewed himself as
the “other” yet maintained the core value of being an
man thinks more highly than I do of patriotism . . . but different
men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I
hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if,
entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to
so many Americans this 4th of July feeling the effects of a
polarized country this Independence Day celebration is for whom?