By Crystal Defatte
Happy Fourth of July, a day we celebrate dissent and treason against a tyrannical government. For many, that statement may come as a shock. We have been taught that patriotism means blindly supporting our government and ignoring our flaws when the founding fathers believed it meant risking everything for what could be a better way; striving for it, consequences be damned.
As most of us remember from history class, July 4th was the day in 1776 that delegates from the 13 British colonies in what would become the United States of America approved the Declaration of Independence, introduced on July 2nd. It was a document that expressed the refusal to continue living under a government that did not represent the people. It was the document that came after years of pleas for representation, petitions to the British government, and protests like the Boston Tea Party. Our nation was born from activists who stood up in dissent against what was at the time the largest empire in the world. People put their lives on the line in protest long before the Revolutionary War even began.
Now we live in a nation that has forgotten its history. We live in a time where simply taking a knee on the sidelines of an NFL game during the National Anthem is viewed in the harshest of lights. Blocking traffic in protest is seen as an offense worth running people over for. Despite First Amendment rights that protect protesting, activists are still routinely beaten, sprayed with pepper spray, and shot with rubber bullets. We live in a nation that turns a blind eye when the citizenry is regularly assaulted by militarized police. In my heart of hearts, I don’t believe this is the vision the Founding Fathers had for their new nation.
I believe we live in troubled times under a government that no longer represents the people. I am not advocating for a violent revolution; but a political revolution, a storm brewing amongst patriots that expect more from a nation that has the framework to always better itself, must continue to grow. Whether you spend this 4th proudly celebrating all that is right in this country or protesting against all that is wrong, there is no wrong way to spend this day. As long as lives aren’t in danger, except maybe your own that you put on the line freely, we must accept that true patriotism takes many forms, this day and every day.
To quote the late Jim Morrison, “They’ve got the guns but we’ve got the numbers. Gonna win, yeah, we’re taking over!” Every great change has come from ordinary people in great numbers. Our Founding Fathers knew that and we must remember it. Happy 4th of July and long live the revolution!
Crystal is a 32 year old mom with a passion for progressive politics and activism. She currently resides in Bettendorf, IA.