The Farce of July.
From recent events and thinking about my country’s historical realities, I was having a hard time putting together a Fourth of July post. I had taken a good photo of a tattered American flag, but couldn’t bring myself to write anything without being falsely positive, or morbidly negative. And then the mass shooting at a July 4th Parade in Highland Park, Illinois happened…
Let’s review — we celebrate “Independence Day” in the U.S.A. on July 4th to commemorate our freedom from colonial tyranny and oppression — ratified and made official on that date in 1776. However, before, during, and after that day, we (as a country) inflicted colonial tyranny and oppression on the indigenous and enslaved peoples from whom we stole land and lives. And today, in a toxic, divisive political climate created by the most money-greedy and power-hungry among us, there are new, insidious forms of retro-colonial tyranny and oppression being devised and foisted upon the good people of this country! It doesn’t feel like independence at all, does it?
It’s a regular “divide and conquer” battle plan right out of a textbook (i.e.: Mein Kampf), wielding dog-whistle words and trigger-phrases to whip the radicalized fringe into apocalyptic frenzy, empowering the worst elements of society, polarizing people, turning states and regions against each other. It’s duping the weak-minded (and those who are not paying attention) into voting against their own best interests. And it’s making people forget that we are a federal republic (sort of), a democracy (more or less), and most importantly a society, made of diverse people with shared needs and core commonalities.
And yet, despite what’s going on today, I somehow still believe that generally, overall, most people (the real, actual majority) in the U.S.A. are good, decent people, who would agree on the fundamentals of right and wrong. I hold out hope that we can un-divide ourselves, become unconquered, create a real independence that respects individuals over ideology, and work together to build a better future for our children, society, and planet. Of course, there are wrongs to right, protests and provocations to perform, fights to be fought, struggles to survive, and obstacles to overcome. But as the little boy in the movie Angels in the Outfield said with a sweet, sad look on his face, “It could happen!”
Today’s photos are a series of edits, riffing on that ripped and tattered American flag flying at half-mast (for reasons unknown, or just forgotten) with the morning sun shining through it. I wanted to visually communicate separateness and sameness, splitting and symbiosis, tearing apart and joining together at the same time.
Camera: iPhone 13 Pro Max
Editing: Hipstamatic app
Photographer: Russ Murray aka “remages”
Location: somewhere in Stamford, CT
See you tomorrow…