05 July, 2005

Post-independence hangover debriefing

July 4th is a difficult holiday for America-hating scumbags such as myself. Mostly this is because of the line drawn connecting patriotism and militarism. In America, expressions of patriotism necessarily imply "supporting our troops", whom I must also acknowledge are "defending our freedoms".

There would have been a time when I probably could have done that quite happily. Specifically, the years 1941 through 1950. In those years I would have readily and genuinely admired the valor and sacrifice of the many soldiers who, the ugliness of World War II aside, could honestly be said to have fought, died and been injured in the cause of defending the ideals this country stood for.

But that was a long time ago, and in the meanwhile we've grown corpulent and long-clawed, inserting our digits where they don't belong and manipulating the guts of other societies. That's a military that's much harder to love. And I fail to see the connection between the actions of that military and my own freedom. Is it really the case that martial prowess is responsible for my right to speech? Shouldn't I instead be celebrating various judges and attorneys, activists and legislators who have kept this democracy vibrant over the years? I should have heard this last night:

ANNOUNCER: And let's take this opportunity to remember all those Federal circuit judges who protected our constitutional right to speech and assembly. That's why we can all be here today, ladies and gentlemen!

Unfortunately the graying judge in black robes doesn't cut as dapper a figure as the spry young military man, gun raised against his shoulder. And truth be told, the sacrifice involved is hardly on par. The former suffers through boring hearings and cramps in the buttocks; the latter could lose his hearing or buttocks. There's a pretty simple and compelling sway to it: surely that level of sacrifice must be undertaken for a reason. The best and greatest reason we can think of: our freedom(s)! Otherwise all those young men and women would be dying or coming home crippled for nothing at all, or worse, for an evil cause.

But the chain is actually pretty easy to follow. When you get down to it, the role of the soldier in protecting our freedom is fairly small when measured up against a federal circuit judge or an ACLU lawyer. So viva the judiciary. Viva the fucking people who give a rat's ass and keep power where it belongs. Raise a glass to 'em, a day late.

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