Wednesday, July 4, 2012
I Hate The 4th of July
I've come to the realization that I hate the 4th of July. I don't hate its origin, the Declaration of Independence. That would be silly. I hate what it's become.
We celebrate our Independence by torturing our pets. We take them into our homes with a promise to protect them (in return for their independence), then we scare the shit out of them with fireworks they cannot possibly understand.
We celebrate our Independence by showcasing the flow of jobs out of America. We spend enormous amounts of money on blowing up stuff made in China by people (some who are children) paid nearly slave wages.
And worst of all, there's how we treat combat veterans on this day (and the weeks before and after in at least my neighborhood). We use the day as a reason to thank our troops, but mostly only with Facebook status updates & tweets. And explosives. We still don't thank them properly by giving them proper benefits, especially medical (which should include mental health). We certainly don't thank them by not putting them in, or bringing them home from, the situations that cause their physical & mental ailments.
Thanking them with words, social media updates, and bumper stickers is meaningless when we still neglect the injuries they endured on our behalf.
Instead, we thank our troops, home from, and still recovering from war zones, by having non-stop explosions all over town for hours at a time. Essentially, we bring them home from war, ignore their PTSD, and carelessly rub their noses in it on a day we're saying how much we appreciate their sacrifices. We mock those who lost limbs by being careless with explosives & losing fingers.
In case I wasn't clear enough, fireworks can be a trigger for veterans suffering from combat induced PTSD. And we make their homes a place they cannot escape those triggers.
If you really want to thank the troops, contact your Congressional Representative & Senators, and tell them to fund adequate mental health benefits for veterans. Then, factor their response into how you vote. I think they would appreciate that much more than the current practice of spending money to aggravate their PTSD for a few minutes of your own enjoyment.
Better yet, take the money you'd have spent on fireworks and donate it to a veterans organization.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)
The American Legion
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Wounded Warrior Project
Disabled American Veterans
I went with the Wounded Warrior Project. If you have other suggested organizations, please post them in the comments.