By Jeff Girod
As Americans, we take special pride in the Fourth of July. It’s about freedom. It’s about history. It’s about stuffing our faces full of potato salad, parading an Uncle Sam beard on the dog and trying to light our cousin’s ass with a sparkler.
Don’t get me wrong. Christmas is fun, too. But you can’t blast a manger scene into the sky over the Rose Bowl while Neil Diamond sings about immigrants and freedom.
This Fourth of July, let’s all celebrate the way our forefathers intended: Find a British-sounding person and rub it in his face that he lost the Revolutionary War. (Never mind that the war is two centuries old or that the British-sounding person may actually be Australian).
And sure, most of us aren’t exactly historians. We can name more X-Men than U.S. presidents. But we’ve all seen The Patriot starring Mel Gibson, and that depiction is fairly accurate . . . sort of accurate . . . OK, Mel Gibson is also Australian.
I can’t be bogged down with facts. This country was founded on shooting first and getting details later. It’s how we beat those pesky redcoats. I’d rather wrap myself in the patriotic glow of the red, white and blue, put a feather in my cap and call it macaroni.
Almost every country in the world is full of citizens who are proud to be from Italy or Mexico or Japan. So why should a proud American be any different?
It seems like the minute you say you’re honored to be from the good ol‘ US of A, you’re stereotyped as some redneck hillbilly in star-spangled stretch pants sporting a giant bald eagle chest tattoo.
Well I happen to like stretch pants and bald eagles. And I’m proud to be an American on the Fourth of July—on the Fifth of July, and every day afterward. Now give me something to star-spangle.
As a nation we argue about everything from gun control to gay rights to who should direct the next Batman movie. But even when Americans piss and moan how about how screwed up this country is, nobody is moving away. Because almost all of us agree that, as screwed up as America is, it’s still 99 percent more stable, reliable and dependable than almost anywhere else in the world.
You get cancer tomorrow or some madman declares war on western civilization, where do you want to be? I know where I want to be and it doesn’t rhyme with “Meurope,” “Fasia” or “Gafrica.” Sure, the U.S. has a bigger military, but we also have some of the world’s best doctors, scientists, artists and entrepreneurs.
Nobody innovates like America. Nobody entertains like America. Nobody has the balls to nickname their country “America” when there are 38 other countries in North and South America.
Certainly, there are a lot of things wrong with this country—the economy, unemployment, Wall Street, our stances on energy conversation, foreign policy and the fact that we’re still trying to make Major League Soccer a sport.
But the great thing about America is that, even with everything that’s wrong with it, it’s still the greatest country on this planet. And yes, I genuinely mean that.
We were first on the moon. We invented rock ‘n’ roll and everything else that means a damn. And if we didn’t invent it, we stole it later and made it better. Hamburgers, anyone?
How great do you have to be that even when everyone freely criticizes you and admits you’re not perfect, you’re STILL better than everybody else? If you broke us into four countries, Canada would still finish fifth.
That’s America, people. She ain’t perfect. Sometimes she’s not even all that friendly. But she’s still America the Beautiful.
And this Fourth of July, honor her with all her flaws and shortcomings—and the fact that your own U.S. government might be monitoring every conversation via email and smartphone.
And if the holiday festivities get out hand or anybody gets powder burns or drinks too many wine coolers, well, just call in sick tomorrow.
It’s called “declaring your independence.”
Contact Jeff Girod at firstname.lastname@example.org.