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July 4th, a Day of Celebration?

I haven’t been able to celebrate a July 4th since the US’s illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 (an “Iraq War” that was based on lies, and according to the best estimates, has killed over 2.4 million people). There are many other reasons too, including the US lies and massacres surrounding the Vietnam War (at least 2-4 million dead, and counting), the US lies and attempted genocide of Native Americans (between 10-15 million people slaughtered), the refusal of the US government to fully acknowledge its crimes and pay reparations to any of these groups (including African Americans for hundreds of years of slavery, racial discrimination, and dehumanization), and most recently with the US government’s complicity with an Israeli regime that continues to commit its own attempted genocide of our Palestinian brothers and sisters (66 Palestinian kids were killed during Israel’s latest assault, as the United States continues to pay billions of dollars to Israel each year in “support” and “military aid”). 
Man, how great would it be if instead of outspending nearly the rest of the planet combined on its military (there are close to 800 US military bases worldwide), the US used its powerful resources (financial, military and otherwise) to pay reparations to all of the groups who qualified? And what if the US then decided to charge itself with the massive responsibility/goal of ensuring every individual in the US, and around the world, guaranteed access to clean drinking water, and nutritious food? (the US is the wealthiest country in the world, yet in 2020, 27.5% of its households were food insecure, which included 1 in 4 children). 
The global promotion of a plant-based diet would be the best and most efficient start for achieving such aims. As per Dr. Will Tuttle, “Thus, instead of using our economic surplus to revitalize our ecosystems, rebuild our infrastructure, and assure adequate housing, food, education, healthcare, and opportunity for all, we use it primarily for subsidizing the wealthy military and medical complexes. We sacrifice our children in wars that benefit a ruling class that uses the media and other institutions to propagate narratives that justify and promote an agenda of violence. By eating animal foods, we are fueling continued harm to our cultural health as well as the ongoing exploitation of our children and of ourselves…we are also being compelled to eat attitudes and beliefs that injure our psychological health. With every meal, we are being colonized psychologically in order to be malleable to the military-industrial-meat-medical-media complex.”
Imagine how the US would be perceived worldwide if it were to foster peace and a healthy future for everyone by redirecting its vast resources and pushing hard for a global shift to plant based diets. Sh*t, talk about a party of all parties on July 4th! 🙂
(please don’t get me started on the implications of the countless July 4th barbecue celebrations). 
Just a pipe dream? Maybe. Our political system is broken, and my guess is that about 95% of US politicians are corrupt to varying degrees, and most seem dangerously incompetent too. Former Alaskan Senator Mike Gravel (who sadly passed away recently), had this to say about his early days in government, “It’s like going into the Senate. You know, the first time you get there, you’re all excited, and “My god, how did I ever get here?” Then about six months later, you say, “How the hell did the rest of them get here?” And I gotta tell you, after standing up with them, some of these people frighten me. They frighten me. When you have mainline candidates who turn around and say there’s nothing off the table with respect to Iran. That’s code for using nukes.”
Heck, you can even make a strong argument that the US government is the leading driver of the climate crisis too. So, yes, despite my continued affection for the US, and a recognition that there are many reasons for both hope and despair, I will not be waving a flag on July 4th, or anytime soon. I too often feel more like what Kurt Vonnegut once described as “a man without a country.” 🙁
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