A Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans!
Yes, it can feel a bit odd celebrating the 4th when you live most of the year in the UK. Even if you happen to be doing it from the confines of your post international flight 10 day quarantine, as I am. Yes, best you stay right there...that's close enough. Don't come any closer, I could start to turn at any minute.
You have to admit it's more than a little funny celebrating severed ties from British oppression when you are living in actual Britain with an actual British person, while paying taxes to the actual British government. Funny how things tend to level-out in life isn't it? Despite our best efforts, The Universe always manages to return to a state of homeostasis. If only we could get a copy of the script it's working from. That would be neat.
Okay, I know, I know. We have to talk about these pants. Yes, I know. They're a lot to take in. That's the point of the exercise - stay with me. I reached for these on purpose today, it being the 4th and all. I have heard a lot of consternation all over social media over the last several years regarding the co opting of symbols of Americana to serve extreme, right wing views. I'm not here to argue that this isn't a thing, because a brief internet search will demonstrate to even the dimmest of wits that this is absolutely, demonstrably a thing. Stars, flags, eagles...whatever, have all been herded into a corral that leads to a life of servitude to causes that they were never ever designed to support. Racism. Nationalism. Misogyny. It gets ugly.
But here's the thing. When your spectacularly drunk uncle is making a scene in the parking lot of the local bar at closing time, waving his keys around and throwing verbal abuse at anyone who will listen, do you react by swearing off driving for life, changing your name, and moving to a different state to avoid any potential association? Of course not. You take away his keys, throw him in a cab and tell him to go work on himself.
It's the same with these co-opted American images - the eagles, stars, flags...whatever, that many have come to associate with the right wing extremist idea of "patriotism" (read: violence). Why on earth would you hand over the metaphorical keys to these people? I'm wearing stars. It's a pair of jeans with stars on them. They're jeans, and jeans are for everybody - the way our country is supposed to be for everybody. However, our country isn't working well for everybody at the moment, so it falls to those of us who still have enough energy left to take the keys away from the violent extremists, the conspiracy enablers, the racists, the Q-loving mouth breathers, and all other manner of disinformation consuming no goodniks and send them off in a cab to go work on themselves.
It is absolutely possible to love and appreciate your country and at the same time want it to do and be better, despite what the people at Fox tell you. This is not a zero sum equation, and it is a false choice to present it as such. It's simple really; be the change, wear the pants. Everybody gets to wear the pants.