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July 4th, a Day for America to Double Down on its Hypocrisy

This will be my 20th year in a row of NOT celebrating July 4th, “Independence” Day. The US War Machine has killed millions of innocent people in the last 20 years alone, and not one US president, government official, or corporate media personality has ever been held accountable (the US military remains the biggest threat to the survival of our species). The US has also nixed peace negotiations with Russia on multiple occasions, which has brought us all closer to nuclear annihilation while also killing over 500 Ukrainian children. Moreover, the US is unrelenting in its provocation and hypocrisy regarding China, as it sends billions of dollars to Israel each year for the continued slaughter of Palestinians. And throughout all of this, 40-90 million Americans are underinsured or have no health insurance, over 140 million Americans are living at or below poverty (and are just one emergency away from financial ruin), 1 in 5 US households are food insecure, Black Americans are 3.5 times more likely than white Americans to be killed by the police, Black mothers and their babies are also twice as likely to die as white mothers and their babies, and there are now 491 anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ bills that have been proposed in state legislatures across the good ol’ US of A. And please don’t get me started on capitalism, consumerism, billionaires, human & animal rights, Big Pharma, and our broken judicial, healthcare, and food systems. Yikes.

“The question used to be, might it be possible that we were on the wrong side in the Vietnamese War, but we weren’t on the wrong side, we are the wrong side.” – Legendary author, whistleblower, and peace activist Daniel Ellsberg

Journalist Norman Solomon is the author of War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine, and the co-founder of

Here are a few excerpts from his excellent piece on July 4th, titled, The Patriotism of Killing and Being Killed:

– “A notable lack of civic imagination seems to assume that there is no higher calling for patriotism than to kill and be killed.”

– “From Vietnam to Iraq and beyond, the patriotism of U.S. troops, and their loved ones as well as the general public back home, has been exploited and manipulated by what outgoing President Dwight Eisenhower called the “military-industrial complex.” Whether illuminated by the Pentagon Papers in 1971 or the absence of the proclaimed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction three decades later, the falsehoods provided by the White House, State Department and Pentagon have been lethal forms of bait-and-switch.”

– “Often lured by genuine love of country and eagerness to defend the United States of America, many young people have been drawn into oiling the gears of a war machine — vastly profitable for Pentagon contractors and vastly harmful to human beings trapped in warfare.”

– “Yet, according to top officials in Washington and compliant media, fighting and dying in U.S. wars are the utmost proof of great patriotism. We’re encouraged to closely associate America’s wars with American patriotism in large part because of elite interest in glorifying militarism as central to U.S. foreign policy. Given the destructiveness of that militarism, a strong argument can be made that true patriotism involves preventing and stopping wars instead of starting and continuing them. If such patriotism can ever prevail, the Fourth of July will truly be a holiday to celebrate.”

Unfortunately, barbecuing and consuming animal products are as much a part of July Fourth celebrations as flag waving, and Mom’s apple pie. Billions of animal factory animals endure unimaginable suffering and misery before their lives are violently cut short, so to satisfy the flavor preferences for the bulk of American consumers.

Abu al-‘Ala’ al-Ma’arri (AD 973-1058), was a blind Arab philosopher, and writer who scribed this beautiful “vegan” poem nearly 1,000 years ago. It is as inspiring today, as I am sure it was then. Wow. 🙂

I No Longer Steal from Nature

You are diseased in understanding and religion.
Come to me, that you may hear something of sound truth.
Do not unjustly eat fish the water has given up,
And do not desire as food the flesh of slaughtered animals,
Or the white milk of mothers who intended its pure draught
for their young, not noble ladies.
And do not grieve the unsuspecting birds by taking eggs;
for injustice is the worst of crimes.
And spare the honey which the bees get industriously
from the flowers of fragrant plants;
For they did not store it that it might belong to others,
Nor did they gather it for bounty and gifts.
I washed my hands of all this; and wish that I
Perceived my way before my hair went gray!

Most people are good, and of course Americans are no different. However, the level of pretense, denial, and blind patriotism that occurs on July 4th, and throughout the year, is staggering. There are many sound psychological theories on how it is possible for someone to have a roaring good time believing or pretending that everything is great, while also knowing on some level that countless others, both human and non-human, have greatly suffered and even died due to his or her actions (or inaction). 

I love to laugh and be silly as much as the next person, and we all need a sense of belonging, and more love in our lives too.
But at what cost?

So yeah, I will not be pounding my chest, or waving a flag on July 4th, or anytime soon.

Until next time…

Click below for Frederick Douglass’s classic 1852 speech, “The Meaning of July 4th for the Negro.”
Click here for the excellent piece, Independence, the American Way, from CODEPINK.
Click here for the Brown University Report, Costs of War.
Click here to learn more from Daniel Ellsberg – Hearts and Minds (1974): “We Are The Wrong Side”.
Click here for an excellent interview with Ralph Nader and Norman Solomon.
Click here for another superb piece from Pulitzer Prize winning author Chris Hedges.

Click here to learn how grilling can cause cancer from Columbia University.
Click here to learn more about poverty and racism in America.
Click here to learn more about the Villains who make Billions.
Click here to learn more about the crimes of Israel. 
Click here to learn more about our broken healthcare system.
Click here to learn more about how capitalism commodifies life. 
Click here to learn more about the power of plant-based nutrition. 

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