Happy birthday America,
Well, technically it was two days ago (but let’s not quibble about that). At any rate, it’s your special day. I was born here in Tennessee, and though we didn’t exist on your first big day, you kinda grew into us. I recently read that they celebrated with 13 toasts to symbolize the 13 colonies independence and later 13 cannon shots. We have way exceeded the 13 states and maybe that’s why we make so many toasts on this day (light beer is mostly water after all). However, our fireworks seem to represent every man, woman and child amongst our 300 million people now and not how many colonies we have. Being from Tennessee, I know quite a bit about fireworks. We’re kinda famous for them. From bottle rocket fights as teens to the quarter of a million people who will file into the state capital today to watch the massive display; we have got it covered. Like anything born over two hundred years ago, we have slowly (if painstakingly at times) grown and evolved. We’re technically still the young kid on the block though, and we sometimes act our age. Recently we seem to be in more of an argumentative mood than usual. But I’m just a babe, a tiny branch in your sprawling tree and I might not see the big picture. One thing that always sticks out to me is the fact that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; those two longtime political rivals, both died on your 50th birthday; 5 hours apart. From his deathbed Adams famously uttered his last words “Jefferson survives”, though ironically he did not. But the argument did. The long argument about who and what we are. We are still having it. Because unlike most things that preceded us, we are an idea and not a place. I still think a very good idea and one that I truly still believe in. I don’t bring this up to raise a fuss on your big day, just trying to find a little bit of perspective on a day that should offer a little reflection. So let’s grill some dogs and raise our glasses for fifty toasts and drive all the dogs in the neighborhood to sheer terror with our normal fervor for blowing things up in the sky. Tomorrow we can roll our sleeves up and go back to work.
July 4th, 2018