Musings & Thoughts for Monday, July 4, 2022, or: It’s Independence Day, But I’m Not Feeling It


Image by Mediamodifier from Pixabay 

Hi there, Dear Reader. It is late morning in Lithia, Florida, on Monday, July 4, 2022. It is a hot, sultry summer day in the Tampa Bay area. Currently, the temperature is 83°F (29°C) under sunny skies. With a becalmed wind and humidity at 86%, the heat index is 90°F (32°C). Today’s forecast calls for thunderstorms to move through the area. The high will be 95°F (35°C). Tonight, we can expect scattered rain showers, and the low will be 76°F (24°C).

Here in the United States, it is the Fourth of July, which is the 246th anniversary of America’s declaration of independence from Great Britain. (If you want to get didactic about it, the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 2, 1776, but it was made public two days later.)  Traditionally and officially, the Fourth of July is a federal and state holiday, so most Americans who don’t have “essential jobs” have the day off, whether they’re in the U.S. or are Americans working for U.S. companies overseas.

Image by WikiImages from Pixabay 

This, of course, lives up to John Adams’ prediction in a letter he wrote to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776:

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

I don’t think we had wine at Fourth of July picnics, but I needed a picnic photo, so…. Image by Pexels from Pixabay 

For most of the 50 years since Mom and I (and later, my half-sister) returned to the States after living in Colombia for almost six years, I used to enjoy the Fourth of July. I can’t say I went to a lot of public gatherings in all that time; I think I attended the late Democratic Congressman Dante B. Fascell’s Fourth of July picnics in Miami a couple of times when I was a Cub Scout/Boy Scout, but I don’t remember a single instance of seeing a live fireworks show on Independence Day.

I do remember that my mother and I would watch, as regularly as clockwork, the two concerts that PBS airs on the Fourth of July: A Capitol Fourth! performance by the National Symphony Orchestra (which was led by the late Erich Kunzel, whose main “gig” was conducting the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra until his death in 2009), and the Pops Goes the Fourth concert from Boston, featuring the world-famous Boston Pops Orchestra.

When, exactly, did Independence Day lose its luster for me? I honestly can’t remember exactly when my enthusiasm for the holiday began to wane. Certainly, it was when I still lived in Miami and was taking care of my mom, knowing that her health was in a steep decline due to various illnesses that hit her all at once, a Perfect Storm of a long, complicated, and ultimately fruitless recovery from back surgery, heart issues, kidney issues, and, of course, dementia.

Mom and I watched the two PBS Independence Day concerts with varying degrees of enthusiasm under these difficult and heartbreaking conditions from 2010 to 2014. This was only possible because Mom’s cognitive capacity deteriorated slowly – but surely – during those four summers. Also, my half-sister Vicky (a woman who only reluctantly became an American citizen at the same time Mom did during the Clinton Administration) was still working at the now-shuttered Metropolitan Hospital of Miami (formerly known as Pan American Hospital); she usually chose to work on July 4, so she was not able to discourage my mom from watching Pops Goes the Fourth.   

I don’t remember July 4, 2015, all that well; by this time Mom had gone to Kendall Regional Hospital due to problems with her kidneys and heart several times, and she was already in hospice care after her last trip there. I don’t recall watching either A Capitol Fourth or Pops Goes the Fourth, by then Vicky was a retiree, partly by circumstances – her place of employment had closed by then, and even though she was not yet 65 years old, she only made a half-hearted attempt to get at least a part-time job to maintain her standard of living but did not really want to work – and she did not enjoy the patriotic ambiance of either concert, so she probably vetoed one or both of the concerts so she could watch a telenovela on Univision instead.

I stopped watching the Fourth of July concerts in 2016; at the time I was in the middle of the Miami-to-Lithia move, with one foot figuratively in one place and one in the other. That week – on the seventh of July – I had to be in Miami for the dreaded hearing in Miami-Dade’s civil court before a probate judge regarding Vicky’s bogus claim that Mom’s last will and testament were “lost or destroyed.”  I was in Lithia on the Fourth of July that year, but obviously, my mind was preoccupied with that hearing, so I was in no mood to watch any concerts.

And, of course, ever since Donald Trump was elected as President in 2016 and his Make America Great Again cultish followers appropriated the American flag, the bald eagle, and even the word “patriot” to self-identify as the only true Americans, I don’t feel like celebrating the Fourth of July. It’s hard to feel good about being an American at a time when the land where I was born resembles Germany in the 1930s more than it does the idealized version of the U.S. that I cherished when Mom and I got off that Lockheed Electra turboprop airliner that conveyed us to Miami from Bogota on a spring day 50 years ago.

For me, this will be just another humdrum day in hot, humid, and quite possibly stormy Florida. I’ll probably eat a late brunch, take a shower, get dressed – even though I’ll go nowhere – and try to get through the day as I always do.  If I do anything remotely related to the Fourth, it’ll be something like listening to America, the Beautiful, a digital album that features the Boston Pops Orchestra performing classical music and traditional American songs with a patriotic bent.

Okay, I’ve prattled long enough, so I will just close here. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things. Unless, of course, it’s raining. In that case, I’ll hold an umbrella to keep you dry.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

5 thoughts on “Musings & Thoughts for Monday, July 4, 2022, or: It’s Independence Day, But I’m Not Feeling It

  1. Donald Trump and his sycophants don’t exemplify what it means to be a “true” American. None of their values apply and one could even say are more akin to Hitler and Nazi Germany. My unapologetically patriotic grandfather, who passed away 20 years ago, would be appalled.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As would my mom, whose U.S. Certificate of Citizenship is one of my prized mementos. She voted Democrat, and the last time she cast a vote – by mail ballot – was in 2012 for Barack Obama.

      Trumpism has sullied American conservatism far more than the movement could have done without it. Yeah, there are varying degrees of conservatism, and many moderate Republicans I would still listen to, but Lindsey Graham said more accurately than he knew when he tweeted in 2016 that if the GOP embraced Trump, it would mean the destruction of the Republican Party.

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  2. A lot of people feel the way you do. America is getting lost. I remember when Trump won. For us Citizens Climate Lobby volunteers it felt like we had made headway. Congressmen/Representatives and Senators were no longer denying science and had started paying attention to the problem. We were being listened to by the public and the politicians. Then along comes Trump with his dumb Chinese Hoax claim, crazy clownish rambling, and extreme divisiveness and he wins the election, and, overnight the progress this country had made on this issue fell apart. The congressman we had talked to had changed their tune. They didn’t go back to climate change denial, which was obviously not tenable, but they stopped caring about the issue and tried desperately to pander to the crazy Trump base, and that pandering certainly did not include talk about climate. They betrayed all of America on this issue (and many other issues) in favor of a small hateful and clueless group of people. However, I am seeing some progress again. This can’t last forever.

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  3. July 4th 2022 America’s birthday. I fly my flag despite the fact it was high jacked and defiled with a fascist slogan and a traitors face.
    Despite the fact it was weaponized with spear tips and used to attack our Capitol in an effort to end our democracy.
    I fly my flag proudly today knowing what it stands for and refusing to give it up to the cult of fascism that highjacked & defiled it.
    It stands for democracy and equal Justice for all. Life Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It represents our constitution. It is not perfect but It is our flag and our country and they cannot have it.
    I shall stand by my oath to protect and defend our country against all enemies foreign and domestic.
    Vote Blue like your life & your country depend on it because they do.
    Tommy Rupp

    Liked by 2 people

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