Fourth of July Remarks For Any Occasion (in the form of notes for the platform speaker)

<strong>Fourth of July Remarks For Any Occasion</strong> (in the form of notes for the platform speaker)
By Barry Crimmins

Listening to the following jingoistic inanities is a small price to pay on this sacred date so put down that breakfast pizza, America, and fork over your ears.

I commence by reminding you that as  liberty-loving people, our obligation to challenge lethal humbugs is always superseded by our divine right as Americans to blissful ignorance as we stroll into the chute behind the other cattle. We must never forget this!

That said, holiday salutations iced with ham-handed implications that the rest of humanity is lacking our natural love of freedom and democracy!

And now, the main body of my address on this Fourth Day of July in the year of our patriarchal lord, 2000 and 10

As Americans, we sometimes forget that the rest of the world looks to us and holds us in awe as a nation because of our unique ability to take a history including:

-- Genocide against those who made the mistake of living on this land before God led us to it...

-- Human enslavement of the labor needed to build and grow our greatness...

--  Codified bigotry against even our own mothers as well as anyone who might be in any way identified as different…

-- Robber baronry and the heinous exploitation of immigrants so that wealth could be evermore concentrated among the few...

-- Police state oppression applauded as freedom protection...

-- Militarism beyond the bounds of any of the great and terrible nations that have proceeded us into richly-deserved oblivion...

-- A democratic process in which only the dollar sign speaks, no matter how many of us bleat at the polling place...

and somehow translate them into the idea that this is the one chosen and truly exceptional nation. No small task, when you stop and think of it --  but usually we're too busy frolicking in our blessings to take the time to appreciate just how wondrous we are. That's why on this day of days, we are obliged to pause, reflect and offer our thanks for our great good fortune to have been born, or legally naturalized (and we're all for that!) in this land of lands. 

Furthermore, semi-sincere but roundly illiterate respects to our ancestral war dead -- but only OUR war dead. A big but completely phony bow to our contemporary cannon fodder, laden with an enormous whopper about how our troops are protecting our freedom in neighborhoods that our freedom has never once frequented.

Continued remarks about how we wouldn't be able to play golf or even go to a mall this morning without our supported dupes' absolutely needless sacrifice in inordinately far-flung places. Places where the locals have learned that, to Americans, appreciation for democracy can only come at the cost of the arms, legs, eyesight, mental health and even the lives of countless innocents whose only prior crime was to have never thought of our nation in any terms, at all. But now they know us, thanks to the, at times, literal human sacrifice of our very children to a heartless yet absurdly self-righteous foreign policy that is enforced by retaliation against almost anyone who makes the mistake of passing through somewhere, where someone we really hate might also pass through at some point.

That's what makes us different from the terrorists.

In closing, God Bless America and our troops and drones. Eat plenty of hot dogs, they're really good for you!


@HyperIntellectFriday, July 4th 2014 4:05PM

I agree with the gist of your article here.  The jest of it, even.  

Particularly the exceedingly expensive - in life, limb, & debt - hyper-militarism.

That noted, it seems wise as a general rule to let dissidents have their say, including mindless reactionary comments and links.  I know I don't care for it when right wingers reduce or delete comments from social liberals.

Warm regards, and I thank you for your important efforts on behalf of reason.

Thanks for your advice.I let the troll have its say but wasn't about to provide free advertising to their cobwebbed-covered blog. And I would do it again.

KozmosSaturday, July 10th 2010 9:56PM

Well...that was thorough. Very nice- my favorite part is, "Where else but in a free country could I even have a monologue like this either.". I think anyone who reads this blog should then instantly scroll back to the top and notice how much Jesus now looks like a mascot.

Thanks.Wednesday, July 7th 2010 1:12PM

Thanks Barry.  It's great to hear your voice again, and it's an important one too.  Don't forget it!


Huzzah!Tuesday, July 6th 2010 9:51AM

Aside from the abbreviated history, your piece reminds us of the innocent blood, domestic and foreign, that continues to be shed in the name of Freedom®.  

Your voice is important, and heard from sea to shining sea.  My regards, sir.

Bill in Port Angeles, Washington, USA

Big JilmMonday, July 5th 2010 11:03PM

Wow - I was trying to sound so extremely stupid that it would be clear that I was joking. I know there is no Mark Twian, and that citizens of Canada and France can be happy, I don't think Barry should leave the country - and I know how to spell beautiful. I guess there's just no way to out stupid the tea party.

I thought misspelling your name was the big tipoff. In any case, I got it!

kittensMonday, July 5th 2010 9:20PM

As a Canadian I'd just like you to know that my country is full of happy, thriving citizens who prosper and smile without maligning other nations or engaging is pissy put-downs.

BTW, who is this, "Mark Twian" you speak of.  You know, just before you call someone else, "dumb."


BlowhardsMonday, July 5th 2010 12:01PM

Blowhards need to be brought up short, no question.  The more I hear mindless platitudes, the more I pity people who can't explain why they feel what they feel.  

I have several conservative friends with whom I enjoy discussing things.  Even my daughter is a Republican and gets a kick out of it when I ask, "Where did I go wrong?" They have something to say without their allowing discourse to degenerate into raised fist Palin-isms. It is only through dialog among thoughtful patriots that progress can be made.  And I shudder to think that until we realize that it's an endless process,  that we will never be "more perfect", that the process IS the progress, contentiousness will begin to wear us down.  That's my fear.

Get their bla-blas out -- Clif GarbodenMonday, July 5th 2010 10:55AM

The real problem with "debate" in America is that no matter how cleverly or with what originality we good guys try to make a point, the wishy-washy liberals and the angry dupes always return the same retorts. So for the record, being entitled to an opinion doesn't legitimate your belief if, for example, you believe that dropping bombs on people is a good way to set things right. And anyone who still says "Love it or leave it," should . . . well, just leave. (Same goes for folk prone to reciting shit like "Freedom don't come free," "I'm proud to be an American because at least I know I'm free," and other things Toby Keith mistakes for patriotism.)
A beautiful piece, Barry. Thanks

Clif, Thanks for your generous words and steadfast support. Thanks for always getting the joke, too!


Big JilmMonday, July 5th 2010 10:11AM

Mr. Barry,
You don't like this beutiful county, you should leave it. God and Jesus both made USA and hot dogs and that is why you have free speech, but do not use it or you go should go away. then see how smart you are Mr. Barry when you are in france or canada where everyone is unhappy and a foreigner.
Marc Twian once said said "if you think your kitchen is a mess, go find a new kitchen!"
after all Freedom isn't free- dumb - you are dumb.
oh - and I think I fixed the commenting section.
- Jim

Thank you for bringing some sense to this discussion!


Paul PentaMonday, July 5th 2010 9:11AM

Barry, my friend. I cannot argue with the facts you present.  Knowing you I cannot argue with the sincerity behind it.  You are not just some pot stirring noise maker raising your fist just to get attention. If you didn't care about America, you'd just throw your hands up and go elsewhere.  You have the freedom and temperment to do that, you rascal, you.  

We must take an honest look at our shortcomings from time to time in order to work on the things that demand our attention.  And the list is long.  But can it be done without total self loathing?  I don't think that serves us well as a nation.  It really is OK to take some pride in our citizenship.  It really is OK to feel good about belonging to a people who are usually first to jump in when anyone needs help in the world. And, horror of horrors, it's OK to have a Fenway Frank on the 4th of July even if it's not done at a lame, secular attempt to co-opt a centuries old, holy Jewish tradition, as suggested by Mr. Wolcott in his article.

So with all that said, I hope you had a good 4th of July.  I hope you took part in the time honored American tradition of baseball on the 4th as your Yankees won while my Red Sox lost.  I hope you took the chance to kick back and relax while the  healing country air of Northern New York washed over you.  And I fully expect that, thus refreshed, you will pick up your cudgel today and begin the battle anew.  

I would not have it any other way.

Paul, Thanks for your thoughtful take. I was on a specific task yesterday-- sending up broad-brushed Fourth of July blowhards. I love and celebrate many things in our nation. However, my job is criticism and so I am usually not too sunshint but then, you wouldn't have it any other way!

Your Red Sox have been hit with everything but a cholera epidemic and yet are still coming on like the posse in Butch Cassidy, the baastahds!

Thanks again for your insights,


To John A JoslinMonday, July 5th 2010 8:12AM

Mr. Joslin. Finally a reasonable voice from the other side. I think we should agree to disagree more often in hopes that it will continue to provoke such thoughtful replies from you.


Barry Crimmins

To Yackums (proudly sitting in darkness)Monday, July 5th 2010 7:51AM

Wow, now I get it-- historical literacy is ingratitude. And genocide and slavery were actually just  part of a roundabout route to international preeminence! Just routes to greatness that only a fool would retrace or reconsider.

Please tell victims of the Alien and Sedition Acts or Eugene Debs or countless victims of the quaint practice of lynching or people who have had the SWAT team show up when they were mistakenly thought to be growing a banned crop just how much people have no need to fear force in this nation. And of course I won''t even mention the land's original inhabitants because I already did and you still clomped ahead with your "no fear of force" argument.

My rejoinder on the "love it or leave it" nonsense is meant to be a simple and humorous reply to an oafish and threadbare assault. What it is meant to imply is that I have a right and duty to criticize a country that is every bit as much mine as it is yours.

I'll leave the rest to another American, who provoked reactionaries of another era to call for his deportation.

The first thing I want to teach is disloyalty till they get used to disusing that word loyalty as representing a virtue. This will beget independence--which is loyalty to one's best self and principles, and this is often disloyalty to the general idols and fetishes.
- Mark Twain in Mark Twain's Notebook


John A. Joslin ( Detroit )Monday, July 5th 2010 7:35AM

You are more glaring proof that we are still a free country to be able to say complaining things like you do and get away w/ it which is outrageous. I may not agree with what you say but I will try my best to make sure you and other  ungratefulls  keeps quiet on days like July 4th. Every day should be July 4th, also.  With no complainers  as well. Thank Goodness God  already gave us July 4th otherwise we would surely have to invent it !  Name 1 other place that has a decent July 4th ... NOPE ... can't do it ( can you ? ) ! Only in a free country could I even be having a monolog like this either. try eating hot dogs anytime you want in other countries.
We brought the hot dog to these god forsaken shores!  remember THAT, smart-boy.  Squanto didn't know shit from Shinola  about hot dogs in the days of old Plymouths Rock. How many Indians we got today  walking around  spouting off there nonsense? Score another one for hot-dog people . I also will chip in for you to travel to a nicer place than what we have here.  
You will miss the American -flavor of hot dog . Mark my words on that.  Don't try and get back in here then.

YackumsMonday, July 5th 2010 4:33AM

Wow.  The ingratitude is just oozing from your pores.  Your cute little list of bullet points is summed up by a tongue-in-cheek justification of the supposed "whitewash" we apply to it...but you unwittingly got it right:  The reason we are a great country is that we have been able to honestly face and overcome the mistakes of our past.  This kind of introspection without the threat of force can only happen in a society as free and forward-looking as ours.  The fact that you can write as you do and suffer only the barbs of your critics belies the very criticisms you spew.

All the rest of your foreign policy-oriented rant shows is that it's possible to be eloquent and bone-ignorant at the same time.  But never mind, Obama already taught us that.

I wholeheartedly second Ms. Click's suggestion to you, and as to your rejoinder - I think Canada, France, and England, to name just a few, are reasonably enough untouched by our heartless yet absurdly self-righteous foreign policy so as to inconvenience you precious little.  If that's still too oppressive for you, though, there's always the moon.

captcha: systems opposes.  No kidding!

Eric HansenMonday, July 5th 2010 4:24AM

Thanks for carrying on in the tradition of Twain's War Prayer.  I attended a fireworks display on the Fourth where a DJ subjected us to the now standard Neil Diamond-Lee Greenwood-snap-crackle-pop-patriotic music, but he could not get the crowd of about 3,000 to sing God Bless America (Someone shouted, "YOU sing God Bless America" - and it wasn't me).

Frankly, I think some of the crowd's reluctance to sing was that they don't know the lyrics, and the DJ didn't have a recording of the tune.  But, I also like to think they realized they weren't at a baseball game and thus weren't obligated to join in.

In any case, the Ray Charles rendition of America the Beautiful still managed to transcend the nationalistic banter and bunting.

For what it's worth, the fireworks were a spectacular display of oooh. . .shiny-shiny.

Thanks, Eric.


Here ya go, Darleen!Monday, July 5th 2010 12:53AM

Darleen Click- I answered that "love it or leave it" tripe long ago by simply stating that I am not stupid enough to leave this nation and allow myself to be victimized by its foreign policy.

If you post more substantial rejoinder to the points I made rather than attempt to  deport me for making them, I'll restore the link to the shitty website you tried to gravy-train onto the end of your really fucking tired comment. In the meantime, thanks for responding with the exact sort of reactionary pap that I was sending up in the first place. The world will become so much less humoous when people like you learn how to get out of your own way.

Love and kisses, Barry Crimmins

Dennis DubrowMonday, July 5th 2010 12:22AM

There is something about watching fireworks with many singing God Bless America spontaneously, however, I'd have rather been singing This Land Is Your Land.
From sea to shining sea...oil stained though it may be...

Dennis, Thanks for your remarks! Woody Guthrie originally wanted to name TLIYL "God Blessed America" because he found it deplorable to ask for more in this land of plenty. Woody felt the only real problem we had was a matter of distribution. I agree.

Thanks, Dennis,


Darleen ClickSunday, July 4th 2010 7:15PM

Who is keeping you chained in a country you hate? I'll be happy to chip in an buy you a ticket to the country you find superior to America.


redmanSunday, July 4th 2010 7:13PM

Thank you Barry for redeeming the day.

Thanks, redman!