Today we celebrated the 4th of July. I am not a terribly patriotic person–in fact these days I am pretty embarrased by our nation’s behavior around the world. But I am always up for a party so we do the whole 4th of July thing up pretty big down here. However, given how grouchy I am feeling about our foreign policy, the failure of the passage of the immigration bill and the death of the Employee Free Choice Act, I was very much hoping that my son wouldn’t ask me questions that would make me have to talk all red, white and blue…or try to explain the complexity of my political positions. It was a beautiful day and I just wanted to enjoy a nice picnic. I was hoping that like years past he would just roll with the idea that its a fun day in the middle of the summer–a good reason to sit back with a drink and watch fireworks.
No such luck. At 11:14 am the questions started:
Max: What is the big deal about the 4th of July?
Me: Its a holiday
Max: Why is it a holiday?
Me: Ummm…it’s the day we celebrate our country’s birthday.
Max: What does that mean?
Me: Its the day that the United States became its own country.
Max: I don’t get it.
Me: Well, a long long time ago–more than 200 years ago, a bunch of people came over from England and settled on some land, the land we live in now. Those people followed the rules of England and the King of England got to set the rules even though he lived far away. It was like that for awhile. Then they had this King named George…
Max: Oh…George Bush’s dad…
Me: No, another George. Anyway, they thought he was really mean and he made unfair rules.
Max: Like George Bush…
Me: Right–well kinda…anyway, he took their money and he didn’t give them any say about what to do with it. They wanted to make their own rules so they decided to make their own country.
Max: Oh…so the 4th of July is the day that the King gave the people the country to themselves…
Me: No–it took them a long time and a lot of struggle to get the country but July 4 was the day that the people said:”Enough. We are fed up with this situation and we want a change. We declare independence…”
I was beginning to be inspired by my own little speech. However, Max got bored or perhaps this seemed to be enough for him. In any case, he looked out the window for a few minutes and then changed the subject.
But his question got me thinking and a little, I don’t know…pumped up. I don’t have to dwell in patriotic pride to get into the spirit of Independence Day. I just have to get in the spirit of “Enough already. I want a change in this situation…”
So tonight, all jazzed up from the fireworks and my friend Cathy’s fabulous peach pie I draft my own declaration of independence.
Starting tonight I say “Enough” and I will stand up against the inner tyrants who drive me nuts.
I declare my independence from:
- Clutter and too much housework
- My inner critic, that damn perfectionist
- My own crazy need for outside approval
- Hateful speech and gossip
- Consumer culture and wasteful spending
- Self righteous and judgemental people who say the only way to love your country is to just agree
May you have a lovely and revolutionary night and may your tomorrow bring you one step closer to conquering your own inner tyrants and making all your very own rules.
PS. Today is also the 1st birthday of my dear little friend Jamie Potts. Happy birthday big guy.