Like any counterculture darling, I’ve always been a little jaded about the Fourth of July. As recently as last year, I was all “okay, but do we really need to celebrate ‘Murica?” I would enjoy the barbecue and fireworks, but only couched in a sufficient layer of irony.
Sometime in the past few months, I’ve turned a corner. And I’m liking it. Yes, America is flawed, deeply so. Yes, some of us are much more free than others. But I’m no longer feeling cognitive dissonance between acknowledging these things and shamelessly adoring good-ol’-fashioned kitsch. I still keep my distance from nationalism, but I don’t think engaging with cheesy cultural symbols is a bad thing.
Everything is problematic. Love the things you love, even (especially) if they’re imperfect. Life is too short for ironic joys.