July 4. An emotional holiday for most Americans, stirring lots of different emotions. In my family, it was the one holiday where my parents didn’t fight. My father would recount for us the history of the Revolutionary War, my mother would make the custard for ice cream; we’d all take part in freezing it in the hand-turned ice cream maker, and we’d have a picnic supper with family and friends. We’d listen to my folks’ old 78’s of Paul Robeson singing “” and then set off fireworks.
These days, it’s harder to feel celebratory. The Supremes have decided that the only part of the Bill of Rights worth keeping and expanding is the 2nd Amendment. Yes! We can all carry handguns! We can create the armed state so many Americans have dreamed of for so long. Our rights to free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom from unwarranted search, our rights to privacy and equal protection under the laws are sorely diminished, but I guess we can all now shoot our way out of trouble.
And speaking of shooting our way out of trouble, with oil markets in turmoil, with the economy tanking, with 60,000 Iraqi soldiers dead or wounded and 30,000 U.S. soldiers in the same sad state, with the military unable to meet recruitment targets except by admitting gang members and the functionally illiterate, the U.S. is once more on the brink of war with Iran.
A year ago, Dick Cheney wanted desperately to start bombing Iran, but the Joint Chiefs told him the U.S. didn’t have the resources to carry on the war that would ensue. Now, he’s rattling the cage again. When Congress gets back from its July 4 recess, members will vote on Joint Resolution 362, urging Bush to use all means to stop Iran from doing whatever it’s doing. Iran may be a worrying Middle East threat, but do we really want to blow up the whole Middle East and our own people and economy in the process? Give it some thought. If you want to phone or fax your representative, this handy website gives their names and numbers.
Have a happy 4th. Eat ice cream. Enjoy your gun. Don’t say anything on the phone you don’t want Cheney to hear.