It is very hard to feel patriotic about a country with so much potential, yet which has always been half spoiled by various unforgivable offenses, most of which have been unthinkable to our developed, western peers. America seems to take so much longer than its sister countries to rise above its crimes against nature. This is, of course, due to ignorance, arrogance, and religion: the trinity of American disgrace.
Not to get too heavy-handed - it is my favorite federal holiday, because it's the only time we, as a country, would ever engage in a wide discourse about stars of the Enlightenment period.
Even if you are suspicious and resentful of the current charade, there are writings from the Revolutionary period and after that can touch even the most offish of disaffected hearts. Reading these documents is the only time I have felt legitimately, personally proud of the concept of America. There have been other times, stories of bravery and humanity under duress by soldiers or nurses or civilians, positive Supreme Court rulings, certain elections, but these stories always seem to be marred with a rotten underside, an unexpected or hitherto unknown terrible repercussion, something. Anyway.
The most important things you can read this summer:
The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine, 1791. Before this, the concept of individual human and civil rights was almost completely undiscussed, unconsidered. How terrifying and telling that we have been focused on this type of human cultivation for such a short time.
The Virginia Act of 1786 by Thomas Jefferson. Introducing! Freedom from religion.
George Washington's Farewell Address of 1796. Sweet, articulate and inspiring.
Read while listening to this on repeat for max effect.
Past 4th of July posts:
J.A. says N-O