Plenty of Independence

I can’t really say that I’ve ever been excited about the 4th of July. Conversely, I never had any real problem with it. Except maybe the aspiring arsonists who get their rocks off by blowing off fireworks well past midnight because SPARKS GLOW PRETTY. Karma usually takes vengeance on the drunk ones in those scenarios though. 

Maybe it’s more accurate to say I never really gave the holiday a lot of thought. 244 years ago, we got our independence, all signed, sealed, and delivered. 

I could ramble on for quite a while about how this country was built, who built it for us, and who actually did the labor. But we’re all aware of these facts, and there are waves of people *not* social distancing out there that are more than happy to point out the unacceptable, horrid history of America while they sip their lattes and tweet.

But hey, they’re not wrong. Our ancestors did a mountain load of reprehensible shit over the past several centuries in the name of power, religion, land, money, or all of the above. It all happened and we don’t have a time machine to go back and fix it. 

What gets me though, is that for a while, during *my* life, I thought we were better. I really was naive enough to think we’d made progress. I, like so many people in our comfortable homes, REALLY thought things were better. That *people* were better than they were 100 years ago. 52 years ago.

I feel there have always been generally good people, generally bad people, and all the shades of gray in between where the fear, love, strength and hate dictate things. These rules apply to everyone, everywhere. It’s usually somewhat complicated. You hope that the good outweighs the bad. 

I think the HOPE was, that the backward-thinking, racist shit-heads were on the decline. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, the 2016 election opened our eyes on a few things. A lot of stunned people who couldn’t believe who won–no one more so than the guy who won. In one fell swoop, we found out there were a lot of people who felt under-represented, angry, disenchanted, you name it. 

Worst of all, having a dim-witted, ranting, racist malcontent in the Oval Office emboldened a lot of people with similar hobbies to start throwing their weight around. It was disheartening to see these trolls start thinking they became legitimized by having a like-minded comrade in the White House.

Then 2020 happened. I wasn’t overly happy with 2019 but this year is unwinding like several bad summer blockbuster films one after the other. 

COVID and Floyd. 

Nothing good happened anywhere around these events. Not leading up to it, or coming off of it. The president of the United States has been as big a disappointment here as he has in everything else. 

We need help and we need it bad. We need an intelligent plan to deal with so many things but at the moment, we need to make sure we never have another COVID situation like this again, nor another Floyd scenario. Right now, I have little faith that we can prevent either from happening again.

But these are the problems I’m thinking about on Independence Day, and I’m sure most of you are too. I’m embarrassed and ashamed of what we’ve let this place become.

And NO, I’m not one of these hysterical types who’ll threaten to move to Canada. What good does that threat do? If everyone with a conscience, a sense of decency moves there, who and what’s left here?

It all just pisses me off, because yeah, I was dumb enough to think we were better than this. Hopefully we can change things in November.

Instead, I’m forced to look at Independence Day and America and think, “What the hell have we done with it?”

Published by rickjlundeen

Storyboard and comic book illustrator/creator/publisher

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