The Fourth of July has always been my favorite holiday. Not for the ham-fisted pseudo patriotism of flag waving politicians that always ends up being more about them, than about the reasons behind the holiday. But for what the Independence Day actually represents. For thinking about Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Adams and Tom Paine. For the ability to stand up for abstract ideas that hold in them the magic to make the world a better place.
Each year it gets harder and harder for me to remember that as this magic day approaches. With an idiot like W in charge, and his bionic side-kick, Dick ("We can rebuild his heart. We have the technology"), it's almost embarrassing to be waxing poetic about love of this country. But again, it's not about W, it's about my being able to publicly say that he's a fool, and still enjoy the fact that life is pretty good here, and can get even better if we give ourselves a chance.
Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826 - the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He had been very ill, but was determined to hold on. He opened his eyes on Independence Day and spoke his last words, "Is it the Fourth?"
A few hundred miles away, John Adams also died on July 4, 1826. Adams and Jefferson had been rivals during the early days of independence, but had grown to friends in their later years. Adams was supposed to have delivered a toast to a reception honoring the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration, but due to his illness he couldn't make it. He sent his toast to be read, as it turned out, after his death. The toast was, "Jefferson lives. Liberty forever."
I love that story.
For a look at the materialism that's destroying us, see "THE CONSUMING AMERICAN DREAM by M. W. Guzy" from TomPaine.com.