The Fourth of July

July 4, 2018

It's not one of my favorite holidays. That's due in part to how it is celebrated, but more to what a lot of people seem to think it means to be a citizen of this country. First, the easy part. I do not like fireworks and never have. As a child my Mother drilled into me the danger of "playing" with something that could blind me or lose fingers on my hand, etc. As I grew older the noise and endless repetition of a fireworks display was more a bore than a thrill and I was enough of a contrarian to enjoy expressing my disdain for something others found fascinating. 


As for love of country, I think that is something you do every day. Take voting for example. It's not enough for me to just show up every four years or so to vote in the "big" elections. I have voted in every election since I turned 21 (and I would have voted at 18 if they had let me) and I look at sample ballots in advance and make decisions about those constable and Railroad Commissioner candidates on the second page of my paper ballot. I have perused lengthy initiatives in four different states to figure out if they really said what their supporters claimed -- Florida gets first prize for obscurity.


I have said the Pledge of Allegiance and I am old enough to remember when two words were added to it, but that's a topic for another day. I was in the Army for six years, almost all of it in the Reserves, and I am hesitant to stand at the ballgame when they ask everyone "who served their country" to rise. But, my greatest irritation is the bumper sticker type of patriotism that says "America love it or leave it." This country has evolved for 242 years because people questioned and criticized what we were doing -- and I was here for a third of those years. 


Like I said, it's not one of my favorite holidays, but I do hope people have a good time.   

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Whitworth Stokes

Whitworth Stokes

1500 Rufer Avenue

Louisville, KY 40204-1634