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Here in Kirkwood there is law against fireworks within city limits. I am not sure how the fair citizens of this suburb respond to that law, as it is my first Independence Day here, but you can bet I will pay attention tonight.
In Lincoln, Fireworks were only allowed on the fourth, and only small ones such as sparklers, snakes, and the like. Most people paid no attention to this law. On the fourth of July people were shooting of some pretty significantly illegal fireworks. Many of them were not only illegal within Lincoln city limits, they were illegal in the entire state of Nebraska. I know plenty of folks who would drive down to Missouri every year to get some of the really good ones. Who knows? I may have been one of them.
But there is something beautiful about those who break the law regarding fireworks on Independence Day, is there not? The reason we celebrate the day is to mark our independence from tyrannic unjust authority. Historically speaking this was the King of England pushing a sect of Christianity that some did not agree with. Today, as stupid and insignificant it may seem to some, people are disobeying the very authority which was formed in the wake of our declaration of independence. It would seem that, not only some, but many people feel that our government in some ways is being unjustly tyrannical. They will not be oppressed. They will rebel! We are a nation of rebels built out of rebellion. Sometimes, and I would argue quite frequently lately, our government needs a reminder that many of us are the descendants of rebels who would not stand for government oppression.
We have strength in our numbers and no amount of increased law enforcement can prevent the majority of the populace blatantly disregarding it. I am sure that the police sometimes try to enforce those laws in Lincoln, but the most they can do effectively is give a heftier fine if some careless asshat blows up his neighbor. Although it is not hard to find articles about accidental injury, the great majority of the time no one gets hurt. Sometimes, it would seem, a few need to be sacrificed for the liberation of the greater many.
Sure, fireworks are pollution. They cause our dogs much unnecessary trauma. Not to mention that they usually amount to a bunch of liter the next day. I tell you what. If I see a bunch of trash on my street tomorrow, I will go pick it up. I am not even lighting a single fuse this year because of the extreme fire danger and the fact it is Chris’s work week so we will barely have enough time to fit in a family BBQ. I hope my fellow humans also realize that there is extreme fire danger here in St. Louis and that they will be extra cautious in light of that fact. But, I already heard some pops last night, and I am sure some will follow tonight.
That is what I think it should mean to be human. To help clean up after the careless mess of others just because it needs to be done by someone. I am hopeful that whoever did it will someday amount to someone who cared enough to do something kind for someone else. I think being human means to show, through my actions, that we people can be better to each other even when we are being careless ourselves. I know I am pretty careless sometimes. Despite differences, we should try to have no enemies, and only be kind and loving to each other. I guess that is what I get out of Independence Day. Nothing about nationalism or whatever patriotism is supposed to mean these days. Just humans loving other humans because we all deserve it from each other. Despite that it was born out of some humans stealing land from a bunch of other humans for their own selfish gain, I think there is something about liberation and learning from mistakes that the whole world can celebrate in it too.
Speaking of descendants, one of my favorite songs to listen to on Independence Day (thanks to my high school classmate and friend, Joe, for reminding me of it last year) is one by the punk band Descendents in their song, ‘Merican. I will leave you with that.