Thursday, July 4, 2013

'Morn, on the 4th of July

My country, 'twas of thee,
land once of liberty,
for thee I weep.
Imprison, torture, kill;
Wage wars on every hill,
Then spy, and lie, and shill.
            (We are not sheep)

My country, ‘tis of thee
Please help me, help me see
Where we went wrong.
The Constitution’s dead
Our flag they want to shred
Instead of pride there's dread.
             We’ve lost our song.

My country, split by thee
No more Tranquility …
So far off track!
I want some pride to flaunt,
Not hear those hates that haunt
But most of all I want
               true freedom back.


*experimental improvised lyrics to the  patriotic song.  Today's supposed to be a day of celebration.  It is difficult to celebrate repeating slogans, wearing symbols, waving pieces of cloth that no longer symbolize the original intent of the forefathers.  Hot dogs and beer, ball games, parades, family picnics, fireworks--the tradition continues; our culture demands it.  But sentiments are divided.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless,
Tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

 [Inscription on the Statue of Liberty].

America can't even take care of its own tired poor, much less its homeless, and its borders no longer welcome huddled masses yearning to be free, never mind the wretched refuse of other teeming shores.  The giant statue of a stone lady lifting a lamp remains a treasured national icon.  But things have changed. The world has changed.  We still celebrate our traditions.  Because without them, what would hold us together?  

I'd rather celebrate today  those things that continue to hold us together--our shared humanness. That despite the madness and chaos and hardships, the stupidities, banality, latest political outrage, or national physical or constitutional catastrophe ... we still cherish freedom, justice, privacy, and the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  In absentia then, a toast -- to the America I wish it were, and perhaps some day might finally, eventually       become.