Social Commentary

Fireworks and Patriotism

fireworks 9 - Fireworks and Patriotism

The July 4th weekend is fast approaching, and unfortunately for those of us who don’t take things like holidays very seriously, it happens to fall on a fucking Friday night, there are going to be a lot of heavily intoxicated individuals with access to explosives and no shift to attend in the morning.

Now, I appreciate all of our military men, past and present, and the sacrifices they have made for our country to keep us free and proud of the free nation we have built and have had the ability to keep stable, at least up until now. But ever since I have reached the age of reason, I have wondered why exactly we need to throw such a display.

I actually went to the Bettendorf fireworks display in 2002, the year following September 11th. I didn’t really want to go, but Johanna did and I’m sure I was amply rewarded later on in the evening for my patience. It might have even been anal. Anyway, I remember how incredibly over the top it was, and I also remember reading in the newspaper the next day that the celebration had cost the city $30,000. And I couldn’t help but thinking: “Man, I hope nobody living in a one bedroom apartment making minimum wage is watching this, they’d probably feel horrible” But for the sake of comparison, Bettendorf has a whole hell of a lot more money than the town in my next example.

Now let’s flash forward to this year. I’m driving out to help Steve and Amber with the animal shetler, and about 5 minutes before I reach the greater Viola area, I begin to see signs for a fireworks display to be held this week in Matherville, IL. If you’ve ever been to Matherville, you’d know that it isn’t exactly paradise. It’s a very small town and I’m guessing they don’t have a lot of tax revenue. But they can afford a fireworks display? I mean, even if it’s only a couple thousand dollars, it’s a couple of thousand dollars that town could use to increase the quality of what little plumbing they actually have. And as breathtaking as the Matherville fireworks display might be, Milan is always going to have a bigger one, and I’d guess that seeing something like that wouldn’t be as cool as preventing a sewer break that may couse that whole county to smell like feces. Doesn’t a town with one gas station need to be saving their money for more important things?

And another anecdote about Matherville…When I first presented my disbelief to my friend over this situation, he said: (in the way only HE can) “Oh yeah dude, they do it every year, man…” THEN, he went on to tell me about how Matherville (he said it also may have been one of the other po-dunk towns out there, so don’t quote either one of us on this) had a problem with lead paint stripping off of their watertower due to either percipitation and/or faulty design/construction, leaving the toxic lead to fall to the ground below, contaminating the soil on the ground below for many years to come. He also mentioned the fact that whatever town it was, the federal government had to intervene (I’m guessing, in order to comply with the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency?) because whatever village it was couldn’t clean up their own mess. Maybe NASCAR was on for a week straight…

Now, maybe I’m being a bit of a critical gopher here, but don’t you think if we really wanted to celebrate how great we are as a nation, we’d use some of this money we spend on fireworks displays to do something constructive to help those of us who are in need of shelter, nourishment, or clothing. You’d think we would use it for something other than to set gunpowder on fire. And to those who have served in the military, I am aware that firreworks are supposed to resemble “the bombs bursting in air”, but that still doesn’t change the fact that no matter how you look at it, war is a horrible thing, and if you’re going to have thousands of soldiers going to see doctors and psychiatrists talking about flashbacks and post-traumatic stress disorder, it probably isn’t the best idea to have these same people slamming Coors Light and arching their necks to look up to the sky and see things exploding.

Here again, I’m not trying to be insensitive to our soldiers, I just question the methods by which we choose to celebrate this holiday. I understand that it is supposed to bring about memories of declaring our independence, but I’d say that the number of people who are still alive today that witnessed the birth of this nation is pretty close to zero. I’m not the biggest fan of holidays to begin with, so I may be biased, but maybe it’s time to start rethinking the way we party when it comes to July 4th, and keep in mind, the longer this country exists, the more holidays we’re going to need, and there’s only 365 days in a year. We’re going to run out eventually if there ends up being that many more Casmir Pulaskis.

In Conclusion, please stay safe this weekend, don’t lose a hand, and please think about how terrified domesticated animals are of fireworks. You can enjoy it for a while, but when it’s July 13th and I’m still hearing shit going off at ten PM when I have to be at work at 7 the next morning and I can’t drag my cat from under the bed to eat, it would be a good idea to make sure that you don’t live in the same neighborhood as I do, and if you see me coming after your drunk, sulfur-smelling ass, I’d run as fast as I possibly could in the other direction.

And if not, we might be celebrating your birthday as a holiday next year…


P.S. It should be noted here that if any of the information in the above blog is incorrect, I take full and total responsibility for posting what is inaccurate. I had simply heard from one of my best friends during a conversation that there was an issue similar to the one I mentioned in the fifth paragraph, and I could not find a link to justify this, other than this link which simply lists damage to individual structures…

Thanks for reading, and once again, have a safe holiday weekend…

1 Comment

  • I would put forth the thought that fireworks companies that distribute here in the US create jobs and if we don’t buy the fireworks, they won’t have jobs and we will have more people in shelters (not a great solution). A lot of fireworks displays are being paid for out of donations because a lot of cities are refusing to foot the bill which is the ultimate solution.

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