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(DV) Lewis: Forget the Fourth!







Forget the Fourth!
by Michael A. Lewis
July 4, 2006

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On this great national holiday, Howard Zinn has called for an end to flags. I'll go him several further; I'll extend that to all trappings of centralized government, including borders, countries and international relationships. It's all of a piece; we can't get rid of one without getting rid of all the rest. 

Here on the 4th of July, in the United States, on the Pacific Plate, temporarily attached to the North American continent, we gird ourselves for the coming mayhem, the celebration of the 230th anniversary of this country, so the myth goes at least. Since we are a "destination" (Santa Cruz, California) we are yearly invaded by thousands of myth-seekers, jingoists and the just plain thoughtless, who leave their, apparently boring, homes and go somewhere else, apparently less boring, to blow up our neighborhood, not to mention the neighbors, human and non. 
Each year, we watch helplessly in dismay as our native cormorants, coots, ducks and geese, red-tailed hawks, crows, great blue herons, night herons, finches, mourning doves, scrub jays and all the rest fly in panic at the onset of the incessant barrage of  illegal fireworks on our beaches and throughout our neighborhoods. They have no place to go, as each flight from booming fireworks takes them in the direction of even more fireworks. This is nesting season for many birds; untold numbers of nests are abandoned in the panicked flight. Many birds are undoubtedly injured flying in the dark, blinded by flashes and sparkles from every direction. Captive human domestic animals suffer as well, unable to escape the barrage, running away in panic, into the traffic, which mercifully is mostly standing still. 
Our community becomes a war zone, as roads to all the beaches are clogged with cars from elsewhere, boom-blasting their way to the beach, thwarted at every turn by road closures attempting to gain some control over the mayhem. There's no place to park, so they circulate around until they either go back over the hill or evaporate in place. Have they no roads of their own to clog, no homes to burn down, no wildlife to panic in their own bioregions? Let them celebrate in place and leave us to as much peace as we can defend in our own place. 
Better yet, let's call the whole damned thing off, nationally. Who needs reminders of official government terrorism and wars when the daily news does it for us for free, every day? The mayhem we suffer through here echoes the mayhem the United States government and its hired thugs visit on innocent people and animals throughout the world in the name of freedom and democracy. The United States has made a graveyard of the globe making the world safe for hypocrisy. 
Let's celebrate June 21st instead, the solstice, something real, global, meaningful, tied to the Earth, expressed everywhere in the places where we live together with all the web of life. We'll throw the old flags on the bonfires, celebrate Life instead of death. We'll invite our friends, two-legged, four-legged, winged, crawling and swimming, and we'll share the bounty of the Earth with our friends and neighbors. All of them. 
We just might start a revolution! 
Michael A. Lewis lives in Leona Gulch on the Pacific Plate.