Maybe it was just me. Maybe I didn’t sleep well the night before. Maybe I just, as the saying goes, woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Maybe it was taking a peek out the window and seeing a windy, overcast, gloomy Fourth of July morning. Not as if this weather was any different from most Fourth of July mornings in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you want a traditionally warm Fourth, then San Francisco is not the place for you. The cold wind pretty much took the barbecue ribs off the menu. I’m done with trying to do low and slow ribs while fighting a cold wind. That’s okay because unlike most years, we weren’t hosting the usual family gathering. Maybe it was a little bit of all of it. I just wasn’t feeling Independence Day this year.

As I said in a previous post I don’t consider myself patriotic in the traditional sense of the word. To me the conventional notion of patriotism smacks of that old “my country right or wrong” dogma. By and large I think that in theory we have a pretty good system going. That’s in theory. In practice America has had its share of blunders that would belie what we’re supposed to stand for. For most of my life I’ve always held on to a belief bordering on hope that when the ship of state starts to drift, the system will get us back on course. Our unique little experiment and our traditional ideals have always inspired the pride that every Independence Day has had me hanging the flag in front of our home. There was no flag this year.

I didn’t go to our little town’s Fourth of July parade this year. I did go to the celebration at the community park but only because my granddaughter was performing. I wandered around the park among young and old dressed in their patriotic garb. In a way I envied their spirit and their optimism. Maybe they know something I don’t. Or maybe they’re walking around in red, white and blue blinders. And then there’s the depressing reality that some of those people in their Uncle Sam hats and flag pins, waving mini Old Glories actually think we’re doing just fine thank you. MAGA baby – MAGA.  I was just thankful that they didn’t do a flag raising and a National Anthem because in my mind I was ready to just take a seat. 

So while the weather was downright frigid, the ribs put back in the freezer for another day and the family balkanized I know the reason for these doldrums. It’s the second Fourth of July of the Trump regime.

It was different a year ago. The bullshit was only about ankle deep then and I guess there was some hope that Trump would completely implode, throw in the towel or a smoking gun would turn up to seal his doom. God, maybe he could bump his head and jar something in that orange melon that would make him act like some facsimile of a President. But we got none of that. The tide of shit just continued to rise. 

I guess it’s about waist high by now. By the New Year 2018 it seemed that surely the depths had been plumbed. I mean how much lower could things really go? Silly me, how low indeed.

A sham of a summit with Kim Jong Un in which the master dealmaker apparently got schooled.

A trade war with our traditional friends while we cozy up to despots.

Immigrant children being separated from parents with no real plan in place to reunite the families. A policy that’s shamed America in the eyes of the world.

An administration that makes Tammany Hall look like Camelot.

Justice Kennedy resigning under some suspicious circumstances leaving our bush leaguer to select yet another Supreme Court Justice.

A boondoggle of a tax bill that enriched the already rich while bending everyone else over.

An Attorney General who justifies his malignant actions by quoting the Bible.

An America that has lost its status as a world leader and has in fact become an embarrassing laughing stock.

The consistent whittling away of American values and quite frankly human values.

A Republican Party leadership that has completely, brazenly and unapologetically abdicated any morality that it might have had and in the process stabbed America in the back. Oh and they continue to plunge the knife.

A Republican Party rank and file that’s perfectly okay with the ruination of a once great nation.

And finally a daily enema of lies from Trump and his lackeys with absolutely no misgivings about being caught

And I have this dread that come the midterms the Democratic Party will carry on it’s tried and true tradition of stepping on it’s own collective dick and getting motorboated.

And this was just the short list. The bottom is nowhere to be seen. To me a happy, proud and patriotic Fourth of July has become a distant memory; faded away into a fog of time and drowned in a bog of corruption and deceit.

The ship of state is most certainly adrift and bearing down on an icebreaker and the ship’s captain’s headed for the lifeboats. In my dreams I’m hearing the strains of Nearer My God To Thee.

It’s as if Trump is waging a four years long rope a dope. And the worst part about this is that I feel like he’s winning. Waiting to land a right cross in November and the knockout punch in 2020. I dread the prospect of another 2 Independence Days like this one or God forbid another 6. If that happens we might want to start thinking about dusting off the tri-cornered hats and loading our muskets.

I’m hearing the booming of fireworks over the nearby hills. Fourth of July 2018 is in its final throes. I’m ready for the fifth. In fact I think we have a fifth of something in the liquor cabinet. Dear God do I need a drink. 

One thought on “Looking for a Fifth on the Fourth

  1. Scott Blake says:

    The title of this post made me recall one of my favorite cartoons, The Lockhorns. Leroy Lockhorn is sitting in his easy chair with a bottle and a heat-on. His wife Loretta comes into the room with a friend and says “Leroy always celebrates the Fourth with a fifth.”

    It’s easy for people to wave a flag and say they’re patriotic, do the “my country right or wrong” shuffle. It’s like putting up Halloween decorations when the kids have moved away and you’re not really into the decorations, it’s just something you’ve gotten used to doing. I think it was during the Nixon administration (and we thought he was bad, not knowing what would sully the Oval Office carpet in 50 years) that the catch phrase became “America, love it or leave it!” A wise-ass friend of mine’s version in reply was “America, love it or shove it.” That was when Nixon praised the construction workers in New York who beat up some hippie protesters.

    It’s not easy to be patriotic when the country has been taken over by an administration that continues to carve its legacy as a global laughing stock. We haven’t returned yet to a national atmosphere of fear of being labeled subversive, of being afraid of being charged with sedition because we care enough about our country to protest. We can still take part in protest marches and gatherings. We can still let our elected officials know when we consider them to be failing their constituents and maybe even failing the Constitution.

    That huge list you wrote, the “tide of shit”, all happened since we stopped doing our collaborative political blog. For both of us, the daily WTF moments from the Tweeting Twit and his Cavalcade of Clowns got to be too much to keep up with. Nothing I’ve experienced or read about in U.S. presidential history is even close to this degree of, for lack of a better phrase, functional dysfunction. The firings, the resignations, the pestilential lying without even attempting to do so subtly.

    The ship of state is more than adrift; it might be seriously listing to starboard. At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin was queried by a lady as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation. She asked Dr. Franklin “Well Doctor what have we got, a republic or a monarchy.” Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” I think if Franklin were around to see what a disaster our republic is becoming, he would have joined you for a drink or three.


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