Skimping On Our Patriotism This July 4th


(The NYC Fireworks Display of 2007…in better times)

July 4th has always been and will always be my favorite holiday.  It combines my favorite things in the world:  American pride, BBQ, warm and sunny weather, a day off from work and loud noises/ flashing lights.

Unfortunately, this year there will be considerably less oohing and aahing as municipalities and corporate sponsors pull back on their traditional fireworks displays and other celebration plans.  And that sucks.

From the AP:
Fireworks shows are being canceled or scaled back, mostly in small and midsize cities, as municipalities’ tax revenue dries up with the slowing economy and falling home prices. Funding from corporate sponsorships also has fizzled as businesses deal with economic problems of their own.

Now of course, priorities play a big part in this, and no one could rationally say that it’s better for a community to have a fireworks display if it means laying off cops or teachers to make it happen.  We must also keep in mind that municipalities are being forced to make horrendous choices between more life-and-death things than holiday parties.

As a for instance, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Kaiser Von Kalifornia, has to decide between things like teacher layoffs or prisoners being set free, last week the talk was about destroying dogs rather than keeping up a kennel system.  Nice.

I guess my point would be that it feels like we lost a war or something.  Nearly every major city in the US has had to cancel or tone down it’s festivities in light of budget shortfalls.  Pathetic.  And there are those who agree with me that this holiday and it’s trappings are not silly or a waste, rather they are a “sacred institution”.

Say what you will about your average thrid world, strong-man dictator, they don’t cut back on the pomp no matter what.  Even in the aftermath of the Iranian almost-revolution of the past month, Ahmadinejad is probably hard at work planning his next ballistic missile parade or annual Holocaust Deniers’ Convention.

And North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il?  This guy’s got a population literally eating grass and leaves, but if he wants his brainwashed toy soldiers to goose-step through the streets of Pyongyang, it’s damn well gonna happen…and there will be cheering.

I suppose I feel like we’ve become a bunch of losers, collectively.  And like all recessions that follow boom times, we’re finding out that the boom wasn’t worth the hangover if we can’t even light up the sky on Independence Day.

The fireworks are just one example (albeit an upsetting one) of the damage these incredibly talented banking executives and the intrepid government officials who were supposed to supervise them have done to our economy and way of life.  I hope there’s at least some contrition down in Charlotte, or on Wall and Broad, or in DC for the sad state of affairs this scaled-back holiday epitomizes.

I’m probably asking too much.


July 4th Celebrations Scaled Back (USA Today)

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