Barbara Simpson, "The Babe in the Bunker," as she's known to her KSFO 560 radio talk-show audience in San Francisco, has a 20-year radio, TV and newspaper career in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.More ↓Less ↑
What are you doing today to remember, commemorate and honor the birth of our nation?
Do you even know what the “Fourth of July” is?
Is your community having a parade?
Will flags be waving proudly in town and on private homes?
Is your community honoring our veterans and those currently serving?
Is it honoring those who’ve been killed fighting for the freedoms we enjoy every moment of every day?
Do your town fathers even know the names of the local men and women currently serving or who were killed in action in our current wars?
And, yes! We are a nation at war, no matter what Washington says.
Unfortunately, my town is like too many others. Yes, there’s a community fun day in the park – races, pancake breakfasts, games for kids, kick-back time for adults. In the evening, music then traditional fireworks.
But “patriotism” is barely an afterthought. The meaning of the day is just the rationale for a local, social event.
Flag-waving is just so gauche.
I suspect, unless you’re unusual, today is the same where you live. It’s just another three-day weekend.
It was lucky this time, the “Fourth,” in fact, fell on a Monday, giving us a legitimate three-day holiday, but Americans are nothing if not crafty. Most of our national holidays have been moved to fit the American taste to have get-away time.
It wasn’t always that way. Originally we celebrated holidays on the day involved. How many people today know the real birthday of Washington or Lincoln? They’ve been watered down to “President’s Weekend” – and in my part of the country, it’s morphed into “ski weekend,” so the kids and the family can plan a big, mountain getaway.
There’s nothing wrong with some snow, but under the white stuff and the fun the reason for the weekend is lost.
Washington, who? Oh, yeah, Lincoln. A president, wasn’t he?
How many people know the real date of Memorial Day or even what we’re memorializing? The serious holiday has morphed into the first weekend of summer, a commercialized, first getaway.
Flags? Parades? Patriotic speeches by our leaders? Our veterans? All have become more and more difficult to find and sadly, as time goes by, have less and less meaning.
After 9/11, Americans experienced a surge of overt patriotism. Americans were not afraid to show love of country. Flags flew everywhere, even in liberal strongholds!
But that surge is gone, and we’re back to the “hate America and all it stands for” mode. We have a government and administration that relishes calling attention to our faults – real, imagined and exaggerated.
For all the millions of words read by the man who is currently president, in the thousands of speeches he has read to audiences worldwide – for all of that, can anyone recall any memorable phrase or statement of his honoring this country, what we have and what we stand represent?
It reminds me of those books that were put out with an eye-catching title but filled with blank pages.
Wait for it: “Memorable Patriotic Speeches,” by Barack Obama, Vol. 1.
One-hundred pages, all blank.
It’s pathetic. We have the most free, most just and most honorable country on earth, in fact, in history. It is based on a Declaration of Independence and a Constitution which lay out freedoms, the rights of citizens and the duties of government which enable us to live in freedom – which includes freedom from the fear of government.
The United States exists because of the words, ideas, ideals and beliefs of the men who put together those documents. Because of them, we have accomplished in 235 years more to further freedom for mankind than any other country in the history of the world.
But we have come to a point where that kind of talk is denigrated.
We have come to a point where schools teach our children negatives about our country. The ongoing theme is that we’re no better than the worst of the world – and, if we are better in any area, we have to be cut down to size.
When that sentiment permeates society, which it does – from politics, to media, schools, business, churches, social organizations, entertainment – it’s no wonder that the serious meaning of a patriotic holiday is not only lost, it’s simply ignored.
That’s what’s happening to this country. The power of those who think we’ve had it too good for too long is infiltrating the American psyche.
The concepts of diversity and multiculturalism make the idea of American exceptionalism a negative.
Celebrate Independence Day as a fun holiday, but leave out the patriotic stuff. We’re not special; we can’t honor that, so just ignore it.
But there’s a price.
History shows that freedoms are lost gradually – and the result is always tyranny.
We may enjoy the fireworks, but we’re losing the reason for the party. The Constitution is being undermined. The Declaration of Independence is considered by many as passé.
If they prevail, future Independence Days will be just another day with not a flag in sight – at least, not an American flag.