It's America's favorite holiday – you can celebrate with explosives, and no matter your persuasion, you won't be told off for your patriotic fervor.
But I feel the real meaning behind the origin of the holiday celebrated on July Fourth has been forgotten, either through neglect, indifference, or malicious intent. We celebrate Independence Day because we won our freedom from our then oppressors, the British.
Today, it's considered passé to exercise protected rights such as the right to bear arms, peaceably assemble, or voice your opinion if you're not doing it within the confines of whatever is considered politically correct at that moment. Some places, you can't be conservative, some places you can't be liberal.
People also choose to not utilize their rights, not realizing how integral those rights are to their way of life and the way they conduct themselves every day.
On the other side of the coin, these same people are lauded for their patriotism when they put on a tri-colored top hat, bunting on their houses, and walk in a parade. You're considered patriotic if you blow up some fireworks or other interesting explosives (unless you live near me, in which case you're considered extremely stupid for doing that).
But is this patriotism? I think not.
Patriotism is defined in the dictionary as “love for or devotion for one's country”. Can you display a form of devotion by putting up decorations and having a barbeque? Absolutely, but if you really love your country, that's just window dressing.
Real patriotism is going out to vote, and casting an informed and conscientious ballot. Real patriotism is paying your taxes. Real patriotism is helping out your fellow citizens, whether it be giving food to a needy family, handing a dollar to a beggar at an intersection, volunteering to make your community better, or promoting higher education. Real patriotism is knowledge of the law of the land (Constitution) and what it means. Know your rights, exercise them, and do good for your country and fellowmen.
Unfortunately, too many folks would rather keep their heads down, go with the flow, and only show “patriotism” on the Fourth of July. But don't be fooled, it's celebration, not patriotism.
My honest opinion? Although that's very disheartening and disappointing, they have the right to be as patriotic or unpatriotic as they want. If you want to trash-talk America, be my guest. Have a problem with the way things are? Try to change them. That's your right, and I'll respect it.
Happy Independence Day, everyone! I hope you enjoyed the fireworks, stayed safe, and had a relaxing weekend!
In light of the recent ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), I just want to make my personal standing on the issue clear.
First, and most importantly, this is not an issue of people being granted the "right" to be married. Anyone who says that is either lying, or very misinformed. The right to be married (and marriage is specifically a religious term) is protected, and has always been protected, by the First Amendment. So even before this ruling, if you wanted to go down to a church or a field or whatever and have a marriage ceremony, that was fine.
This is not an issue of people being granted the "right" to love each other or to express their love. As before, these things are protected by the First Amendment and the Constitution.
No, what this is really about, and what it's been about all along is money and bureaucracy. Laws that "legalize" gay marriage are really just adding provisions for that to existing laws, to allow homosexuals to be civilly married. It also simplifies many other legal circumstances.
As far as that goes, this was the only correct decision for SCOTUS to make. Because of the First Amendment, and as long as the government is in the business of solemnizing a religious activity, they cannot discriminate by sexual orientation - just like they can't discriminate by religion, race, original nationality, or any other subjective and unfair metric.
My opinion? The government should stop solemnizing marriages altogether. Technically, the First Amendment prohibits it anyway.
That's all for now!
I originally wrote something much more complex, and seriously tangential, before I realized nobody wants to read something like that. It was just depressing, to be honest.
So here's something brief and pithy about how my life is and what my plans are.
April 4th, 2015 saw me heading up the road with my wonderful mother to my second-ever con experience, BABSCon. I attended last year by myself, and I figured with a companion it would be even better. She was also doing a research paper on the fandom, and was hoping to get insight firsthand.
This is a talk I presented at church today; I hope you like it!
You've all heard and sung the song “I am a Child of God”. I don't really remember the first time I sang this song, but I know it must have been in Primary. I remember thinking, “wait, if I'm a child of God, doesn't that make me a God too?” I spent a lot of time reading Greek mythology when I was young, which is where that thought came from.
I actually had a point. Our Father in Heaven is a God of ultimate power, a divine being. His Son Jesus Christ is likewise divine. As children of God, we have the potential to become like Him someday.
As my informed readers are no doubt aware, steam is picking up for the next Presidential race. People are getting ready to start sending out millions of dollars worth of advertisements for themselves or their preferred candidates, and the candidate list is beginning to be populated.
What do I want to see in our next president? What do we, as a nation, need to see in the next president? Here are the priorities my dream candidate will have.
The other day, I was eating at McDonalds while waiting for it to get close to my shift at work, when a man who was obviously down on his luck approached me respectfully and asked if I had five dollars to spare to help him get a bus ticket to Santa Barbara. I answered truthfully that I didn't have any cash, but that I wished him well.
After observing this man while I ate, I decided that it would be good for me to give him some money. He seemed genuine, not like a scammer, and it would be wrong for me to not help him if I could. So, after eating, I walked over to an ATM and got five bucks out.
I asked the man if he had any luck yet, and he ruefully replied that he hadn't. I then asked, "Have you said a prayer?" He surprised me by earnestly saying he had, actually prayed. I handed the five dollar bill over and said his prayer had been answered.
I walked off after getting his name and shaking his hand, wishing him well. I felt that although I'd done a good deed, there was something wrong.
You see, although "It's what Jesus would do" had been a factor in my mind, too heavily had thoughts of what one of the social elites at church would have done weighed on me. I'm sure many of them would have said "I'm sorry" to the man, and not given him another thought. A few, perhaps, would have actually genuinely been concerned for him, while the rest would have given him some money for show in order to look 'righteous' in front of their peers.
These thoughts colored my mindset when I shared my relative abundance with this man, and robbed me of the joy of my charity. For instead of love, my heart was full of pride.
Control your thoughts, and have feelings of true love for your fellow men when you see opportunities to help them. Learn from my mistake.
Merry Christmas everyone!
I just had to write about this, as there don't appear to be any mentions of it anywhere else on the Internet that I could find.
On page 275 of the Second Edition of The Fellowship of the Ring, in the first paragraph, you'll read the following text:
"I was far from Isengard, ere the woves and orcs issued from the gate to pursue me."
Notice anything fishy? Yep, that's a typo in the greatest epic of our time! It should be wolves, but instead reads woves. Something to be fixed in the next edition.
I hope you're having a great holiday season, and are spending it with fun people and keeping your heart full of light and joy. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from websterhamster!
I'm a gamer, human, and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and I enjoy writing about my experiences and opinions on just about anything I'm interested in!