Land of The Free

freedom

America is a land of contradictions. We have some of the most brilliant scientists in the world, but on the other hand we have . . . well . . . Arkansas. The same country that brought you Cosmos and Planet Earth also presents you with Swamp People and The Bachelor. But that’s what makes America great. And extremely dysfunctional.

For example, each year we celebrate The Fourth of July to remind us that we are free from overbearing governments, excessive taxes, British humor and . . . wait a second. Okay, we really celebrate July 4 to recognize our acceptance and love for diversity in race, religion, sexual orientation, gender and . . . wait. Hmmm.

Well, we celebrate it for some reason. Probably because ‘mericans love their gunpowder and explosives. And all-you-can-eat hot dogs.

bald eagle

(Bald Eagles shouldn’t use Rogaine.)

We know America isn’t perfect. We tend to prove that on a global scale every day. But, hopefully, everyday Americans believe that “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” I didn’t notice any footnotes in the Declaration of Independence.

And while a person’s right to kick ends where my crotch begins, maybe I could take a step back so they have more room to kick. Maybe we should all take a step back and remember that tolerance and acceptance are not the same thing. Because, who wants to be tolerated?

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Clarence Darrow said, “True patriotism hates injustice in its own land, more than anywhere else.”

I don’t care if you’re a democrat, a republican, a Whig, a Kardashian or an iced-tea party chairperson. We love this country where you can wear Uncle Sam underwear/bra sets, purchase fireworks 24 hours a day, wave small Chinese-made American flags, sing the national anthem at the top of your lungs and push small children down to get the free taffy during 4th of July parades.

This great democratic experiment continues to evolve. Just because our government is mired in inefficiency and anger doesn’t mean America’s populace has to be just as messed up. As Mitt Romney said so eloquently, “I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.” (Actual quote.)

Ditto. I think.

Top 5 Ways To Celebrate Freedom

Interestingly enough, February 1 is National Freedom Day (Lincoln abolished slavery) while July 4 is National Independence Day (America abolished Great Britain).

(Hopefully, your Independence Day won’t include a devastating alien invasion.)

As U.S. citizens, we celebrate freedom by eating vast amounts of barbecue, lighting things on fire and waving at beauty queens during a parade. So, even after thousands of years of evolution, our society still tends to focus on food, fire and women. Great progress there, folks.

Here are 5 great ways to celebrate freedom this week:

#1–Read a book. As Americans, we’re free to read anything we’d like without censoring. (Unless you live in Davis County, Utah, and want to read “In Our Mothers’ House.” It’s a picture book about a child being raised by two mothers that was banned from Davis County schools.)

(For mercy’s sake! Don’t read this story about a loving family to your children!!)

#2–Act Like An Idiot. Americans are infamous for being boorish, obnoxious, outspoken, rude and stupid. For many people, The Fourth is July is celebrated by 1) Getting drunk, 2) Shooting off illegal fireworks, 3) Catching the dry field across the street on fire, and 4) Burning the neighbor’s house down.

#3–Watch TMZ or listen to Rush Limbaugh. Unlike many places across the world, the U.S. lets its citizens watch anything they damn well please. But, instead of educational, cultural or informative programs, the majority of people tend to lean toward reality TV, gossip-mongering hate-filled talk shows or porn. Thanks, freedom.

(What’s not to like?!)

#4–Debate the recent Supreme Court rulings. You don’t have to agree (hence the word “debate”) but at least be informed. Part of the wonderfulness of this country is our right to agree to disagree. Unless you’re FOX news or CNN. Then you are just disagreeable. (Don’t agree? That’s okay!)

#5–Thank a Vet. Seriously, folks. Whether it’s your grandpa that served in WWII, your uncle who fought in the Gulf War or your neighbor who just returned from Afghanistan, give them a hug (not the surprise kind where you jump out of the hall closet) and say, “thanks.”

(Thank you.)

Enjoy the freedom to vote, protest, send our daughters to school, choose our own spouse or religion.

And, finally, be safe during The Fourth of July by avoiding warm potato salad, pyromaniac brothers with a penchant for “improving” the fireworks they just purchased, and children running with sparklers. What a freakin’ dangerous holiday.