Where Were You When: American Bicentennial Edition
Memories of July 4th, 1976. An open thread.
Each year in recent memory, as America has inched closer to seeming like a failed state and I’ve become more aware of its unjust history, it’s gotten harder for me to feel excited (or even good) about celebrating the Fourth of July. This year, in the midst of what is clearly an authoritarian judicial coup, threatening the basic human rights and bodily autonomy of so many, I’ve hit an all-time low in terms of my feelings about the holiday and my hopes for our democracy.
But on July 4th 1976, when I was an innocent almost-11-year-old, I was pretty damned excited to celebrate this country’s 200th birthday. I felt grown up accompanying my dad to his friends’ Manhattan apartment overlooking the Hudson River, where we watched the Grand Parade of Sailing Ships. I really got into the spirit of the occasion, dressing in the blue jumpsuit with red and white patches from Chwatzky’s Department Store that my best friend also had.
On Instagram yesterday, Oldster contributor Kathleen McKitty Harris suggested that everyone from Generation X should write about their memories from that day. I asked her whether she’d mind if I shared that here as a prompt for an open thread—not just for Gen-Xers, but for Oldsters of any age, who were alive in the mid-70s. She was happy to oblige. So here we are.
What were you doing on July 4th, 1976? Do tell…
Fighting back: An action you can take right now…
Even though I’m down on the direction this country is going in, I’m not ready to give up.
And even though the Democratic party hasn’t been aggressive enough in fighting back against what turns out to have been a long-running coup, I’m not ready to give up on them, either. The bottom line is that we need more of them in the House and Senate if we want to restore any of our rights going forward, and avoid becoming a completely totalitarian state. This is a legitimate, looming danger.
I’m going to periodically post opportunities for actions we can all take in these dangerous times for our democracy. Here’s today’s:
Field Team 6, an organization I’ve phone- and text-banked with in the past, is offering an ongoing opportunity to take part in post-carding, sending beautiful cards they’ve designed to motivate eligible voters to register and cast ballots. If you’ve got time and need something constructive to do toward saving our democracy, please consider this!