Skip to content

True Blue

We watched the fireworks last night. Because I was sick with an airport cold, I didn’t feel up to braving the crowd and hike from parking to viewing at the Rockford firework show, so we went instead to the more modest Kirkland fireworks. It was nice, too; gradually it’s dawned on me that the immediacy of small-town shows often makes for as spectacular a show as a large city’s viewed from a great distance.

I have only one objection to the Kirkland show. Kirkland is very much small town middle America, just like you see in the Chevy commercials. And apparently it buys into the mythology of small-town middle America being the Real America. So in place of the traditional, politically neutral musical accompaniment of “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” or the 1812 Overture, we watched the rockets red glare to the strains of country singers telling us that America was about fighting on the front lines of freedom, being strong enough to stand up to our enemies, living close to God, and taking pride in our traditional values. Conspicuous in its absence was mention of American values like fairness, tolerance, and a love of peace.

The mythology of rural, working class, culturally homogenous, and above all conservative life as the foundation of America, even the only part of America that qualifies as real, is every bit as arrogant, every bit as insulting as the common Manhattanite belief that Brooklyn stands at the outer fringes of civilization, and that if you can’t have it in New York, it isn’t worth having. Having grown up in Illinois, and living now in the immediate orbit of New York City, I get exposed to both, and believe me: they’re equally repugnant. Both express a conviction that some people are just born better than others—perhaps the most purely unAmerican sentiment there is.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *