America is kind of f*cked up right now.
Our president is busy tweeting out obscene things about women regarding their appearances or relationship to blood. We’re lamenting the potential loss of health care for millions of Americans. Rich kids with no experience and tiny voices are handling international diplomacy as the world is on the verge of being set ablaze in exchange for oil money. #HeterosexualPrideDay percolates beneath LGBT pride as stories of violence and injustices against minority Americans continue to make headlines.
As we approach America’s “birthday” on July 4, how do we reconcile our dissatisfaction with the 241-year-old monster founded on inequality and greed that we call home? Can we?
Yes, okay: we have a lot of freedoms built on the backs of many Americans who fought to allow for our current complacency, which so often takes place from an armchair. Your own life might be quite cushy in comparison to many other more vulnerable people. But these positives are increasingly clouded by the realization that our nation birthed a filthy orange brat. Our country’s leadership harbors an emotionless inability to express compassion for others domestically or abroad, proving some of the worst stereotypes about American selfishness true. The result? Most countries now hate us. In fact, we hate us.
To be American now is to acknowledge that we are a people belonging to “this lying, murdering whore called America” as Michael Harriot of The Root wrote weeks ago. Guilt looms over us no matter who you voted for, or what you stand for, or where you come from. We’re awake, we’re unhappy, and we’re in a shame spiral of helplessness.
So, my fellow disgruntled, disappointed, disgraced Americans: how do we cope? How do we celebrate July 4 when we’re so deeply unhappy with our current situation? We will use the day as a “day on,” as my mother would say.
Do the obvious: resist via calls, messages, notes, etc. Call your congressperson or write a letter to a representative. They might be “off” for the week, but we’re still on – and the GOP’s push to make a decision on health care after the holiday is a reminder of the urgency needed in speaking up. Our messages will be heard when their vacations are over, serving as salty, rude awakenings.
Organize your anger for a good cause. After our current president’s win, I personally couldn’t imagine a holiday like President’s Day occurring with Trump in the White House. Yet, it did. How did I cope? I used the weekend to assemble disgruntled friends to send letters to representatives while gathering money to donate to the ACLU. We sent nearly 70 letters and raised more than $350. Perhaps throw an “I’m Mad at America So Let’s Do Something About It!” party this Tuesday.
If there’s a protest near you, protest. The best manifestation of American pride in 2017 is taking to the streets en masse express your beliefs. There are protests against the GOP healthcare bill planned in places like Santa Cruz on the holiday itself, but other cities – New York, DC, and beyond – are hosting protests before and/or after the holiday.
Apologize to someone in who isn’t from here. Know someone who is an immigrant? Have a friend here from overseas? Apologize for the repeated ways our country keeps outing itself as an assh*le to them. Show them the Trump White House doesn’t reflect all of America or our values. It’s as simple as that, really.
Honor – and dishonor – our history. We have a rich, complicated history to be studied. Learning about it is a powerful tool to fix our present problems. Like Germany has done in never forgetting disgraceful moments in time like the Holocaust, seek out American history on a local and national level to understand on a personal level how we could or should grow. Moreover, to acknowledge our history is to acknowledge all the everyday people who make America great – and there are many July 4 volunteer opportunities to help out.
Celebrate something else. July 3 is my parent’s wedding anniversary. July 5 is the anniversary of my moving to Los Angeles and one of my best friend’s birthday. What does that mean? I’ll be celebrating those things on July 4 in addition to my disgruntled American identity.
There are many ways to express your great discontent and these are just a handful of ideas. Realizing that our current political and social situation is not normal is key. That’s literally the first step in recovery: admitting that you, and me, and this entire country have a problem. Then, we can move forward and fix it.
We might not be proud this year but, surely, we can do something about it.