I’m an American citizen. I was born in America. I can’t see how I could leave America, but I’m open to the possibility.
I’m not renouncing my citizenship. I’m not going to stop speaking my mind. Speaking my mind is the most patriotic thing I can do now.
I live in America. I may always live in America. But on this day of false independence for most people living in America, I’m acutely aware that I’m not an American.
As a child, I believed the lies taught in school as history. Into my forties I wanted to believe there was something to American values and America doing some good in the world. But sitting here on the Fourth of July less than two months passed my 48th birthday, I know American values aren’t mine. American history is largely a collection of sanitized falsehoods designed to propagandize those not strong enough to seek truth.
Worst of all, I truly wish I lived in a society the likes of which Americans have been conditioned to believe they have. I would love to be part of a society that truly provided equality, equity of opportunity, had a real justice system, made it easy for everyone to participate in the political process, guaranteed everyone the right to go to the doctor, provided all children a good education, cared for the planet and animals, and so much more. But now more than at any time in my life, America is farther from those ideals. Some of them it has never pretended to seek.
Recently, the Supreme Court decided women can’t control their bodies. Police fired 60 bullets into an unarmed black man who was running away. People were murdered grocery shopping. Children were murdered as cops sat outside an unlocked door. Extreme weather events caused deadly wildfires, tornados, and floods. All of that an if we believe the Supreme Court, understand Republicans want the Christian, white male-dominated government the constitution provides, and Democrats are the least effective political party around, there is seemingly no hope for America to even go back to pretending incremental, tiny rollbacks of the systemic oppression given to us by the slave-owning, white supremacist, sexist, elitists men we are taught to revere is possible.
I hate writing this, but I believe there is a very real chance this Fourth of July will be the last Fourth of July where Americans with some degree of humanity can kind of pretend America isn’t what it has always been. This year, people can eat their hamburgers and hotdogs, they can drink their beer, play games, watch baseball, go to fireworks shows, and still hold to the idea that America is what the propaganda has conditioned them to believe.
If the Supreme Court rules the way it’s expected to rule in some cases next term, the Republicans continue pushing for their supremacist society, and Democrats keep sending out fundraising emails, America will be a different place next Fourth of July. Next Fourth of July, America’s government will look a hole lot more like it did in 1789 than it did in 2021.
As America celebrates what is likely to be the last celebration of myths that will soon be put to rest, I can’t intellectually or emotionally go for the depressing, infuriating ride. America won’t change me to being an American. I know I won’t change America to being the America I once thought it could become. But I will maintain my dignity. I will not endorse or pretend to like or believe in a society that is dedicated to destroying and exploiting most of us.