This is a political blog, and there is plenty of material for me to work with this week. I am not happy about the Supreme Court’s decision to allow any part of Trump’s Muslin travel ban to go into effect. I am proud of the 24 states that are resisting the fraud that is the Trump election commission, And so on. But, in honor of our nation’s birthday, I thought I would quiet things down this week. There will be no lack of new material next week, I am sure. In the meantime, I thought we could all use a little breather. So this is a mostly non-political post on my political blog. This week, I am going to talk about fireworks.
I went with my family to our first fireworks display of the season on Thursday. While we were there, my thirteen year old son made me think fast with a perfectly reasonable question. He asked why we celebrate the birth of the United States with a Chinese invention, fireworks. I replied that fireworks celebrate the use of gunpowder in the winning of our freedom from the British. It is certainly true that the British also used firearms during the Revolutionary War, but that is all the more reason why we would have lost without them.
I grew up in a very small town in New Jersey. Our annual fireworks display was on the Fourth of July, and the whole town showed up for them. Probably, that is not quite true, and many residents went elsewhere or missed them, but it seemed like it had to be the whole town to my childish mind. Looking back, it is clear to me that my town did not have much money to put into fireworks, and there would therefore have had to be much more impressive displays elsewhere. But I had little basis for comparison, so I was happy with our display. Towns mostly paid for their displays out of local taxes, so the quality of the fireworks was a show of power in a sense. The display we go to now is in the next town over from ours. I live in a town that does not do its own display, although there is certainly enough local wealth to manage it. But a few years ago, the display we attend suddenly lost its tax funding. There was a year when they threatened to cancel their fireworks, and went begging for donations. Since then, they have lined up corporate sponsors every year who have booths at the event and must be thanked from the stage before the fireworks begin. So the fireworks were saved, but something was lost.
I strongly believe that accurate and detailed information is our best weapon against Donald Trump and the Republican Party that has created the healthcare atrocities in both the House and the Senate. The need for solid information extends well beyond the healthcare debate, and it is the reason I have links to fact checking sites on my blog. However, my need for solid information does not extend to fireworks. I once had a friend who insisting on analyzing each firework that went off during the display. He knew, or thought he knew, the chemistry behind each special effect we saw, and he had a compulsion to share this information. I prefer not to know how the trick is done in this case. I prefer to relax and allow myself to experience the wonderment. It is perhaps the biggest innocent pleasure I allow myself. There is no comparable sense of wonderment to be experienced in politics. Perhaps that is because there is no fire department on the scene to put out the fires if anything goes wrong. We, as informed citizens, must be that fire department.
So there are my random thoughts on fireworks. Maybe this post is more political than I expected, but so be it. Let me close by thanking everyone who reads this blog, and wishing you and yours a very happy and safe Fourth of July, however you choose to celebrate it. As for music this week, it is probably true that many of my readers have never heard of Grant Peeples. That is a shame. This song is a fine display of his wonderfully warped sense of humor: