By Trudy Wischemann
I got my tags from DMV a couple of weeks ago. My registration is due in May, but April and May were too full to fit the smog in, so I paid in time, got the smog check done in early June, and waited for the tags to come in the mail.
When I opened the envelope, I had an immediate rejection. They’re gold, and I don’t know why it hit me, but when I saw the numbers 2020, I didn’t want to put them on. Maybe it’s just the recognition that time’s flying, but there seemed something auspicious, or premonitious about the black and gold color scheme. The double-double digit year. The early curtailment of 2019.
There are other things forcing us to look ahead to next year, the election primarily. Already our daily news is filled with stories about the fight to become the next President of the United States. I don’t think I’ve recovered from the last one, which is probably my own fault for not doing the required self-care to heal. But if we’re not careful, we’ll lose sight of the fact that it’s only 2019 (only!) and that every day is as precious as the next while we’re still breathing.
So. It’s Independence Day, 2019. We’ve been a free country, at least hypothetically, for 245 years. We’re celebrating the fact that we went to war, with a ragtag army of musket-carrying wanna-be citizens against a world power with the best navy ever constructed, for the right to vote for our leaders, and won. We went on a semi-kamikaze mission for the right to select people who will make decisions for us, hopefully good decisions for the majority (if not all) of the citizens and not just the rich ones, people who will responsibly levy the taxes necessary to make our interdependence work. To take advantage of the fact that together we are stronger than we are separately. To make one country out of 13 colonies. E Pluribus Unum.
I remember a few other Fourth of Julys. The ones from my youth included watching fireworks over Commencement Bay from the rocky beach at Browns Point or our front yard, which was inland a few blocks. I remember setting off firecrackers in the gravel driveway so that sparks wouldn’t start a fire, although the grass was always green there on both sides of any fence due to the ever-present rains. I mean, when people said “It’s so dry right now,” they meant it had been a week since we’d seen clouds.
So most of my Fourths since I moved here have been spent on guard against sparks. The illegal bombs bursting in air, which have already broken the peace of June evenings, produce an instant judgment of insanity in me. Celebrating our freedom this way seems a sham, considering the lives that have been lost over our long history to protect it. But there we are.
Our independence from England has now morphed into an interdependence with Great Britain and other countries that our ragtag wanna-be citizens in 1776, our founding fathers and mothers, could not have anticipated. And it occurs to me that we might want to celebrate that interdependence, among ourselves (red states and blue) and across the borders, across the oceans. Our war for independence won us a place in the world, and that’s something to celebrate in itself.
Trudy Wischemann is an optimistic doubter who writes. You can send her your Fourth memories c/o P.O. Box 1374, Lindsay CA 93247 or visit www.trudysnotesfromhome.blogspot.com and leave a comment there.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.