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
We just might start a revolution!
Michael A. Lewis lives in Leona
Gulch on the Pacific Plate.