If I’m going to celebrate anything about today, it’s the continuation of an experiment.

I’m working my way toward fifty years of age and I don’t have a lot of what one could call “patriotism” left. The country’s a mess, its ideals under attack from without and especially within, by the rich and the powerful and the willfully ignorant, by those who are gaming the system to the breaking point so they can win ongoing perpetual rule and control. But the ideals stated at the start of it all still mean something. Maybe I’m naive to hold onto that belief. So be it.

If I’m going to celebrate anything, it’s those ideals.

Not for the troops, because as soon as we decide that a uniform and a weapon automatically make a person superior then we have ceded a level of personal responsibility, but for the kind of people who choose to take up arms specifically for the cause of protecting those who cannot protect themselves. Not for the flag, because crass symbolism has become just another wedge to divide us, but for the kind of people who see the flag as a reminder of the importance of those naive ideals that started this whole grand experiment off in the first place. Not for the history, because boy howdy is this country’s history full of greed and corruption and outright evil swathed in lies meant to convey respectability and holy purpose, but for the future that I hope we still have the chance to make together, a more inclusive and honest and understanding future for everyone.

Not for independence, but for the hope of interdependence.