Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Love of country

Chalk up another used-to-be on the list of ain't-no-mores:  Fourth of July fireworks at Memorial Park...a tradition that spanned most of my life...gone now; relegated to the realm of mere recollection.

Of course, there are other places people can go for fireworks; indeed, there are fireworks displays and stands all around the city of Colorado Springs – just not in it -- leaving a gaping hole in the center of our community.  This sorry state of affairs was reported in a recent Gazette article, in which it was dubbed “The Ring of Fire.” Kind enough to lay out what patriotic options remain for its readers, the Gazette concluded that the Air Force Academy is the new place to be. 

Military brass were quoted waxing ecstatic, as they envisioned the birth of new traditions from the ashes of the old…but the prospect of reaping a whole lotta extra revenue from exploding gun power must have have certain profiteers ecstatically waxing on and off to the point of chafing and distraction.

So, the Army and the Air Force have decided to throw open its gates for a day to allow the common man onto its grounds; what could have inspired this sudden show of soldiery schadenfreude?  Was it, perhaps, a bagful of letters from understandably upset citizens, demanding to know exactly how much money the city would save by ending the Memorial Park fireworks program?  Or to thank the people of Colorado Springs for a half century of support?   Who’s to say?  All I know is…in this post-911 day and age…such hatch-unbattening for the general public comes across as magnanimous – quite; one could even say it was “mighty white” of them.

But certainly, it must also be mighty green of them. Hosting the area’s two largest pyrotechnics presentations assures the military the lion’s share of El Paso County fireworks afficianados; the Gazette article estimated an audience of 50,000 would attend the AFA festivities alone.  Firecrackers are a money-maker, no doubt; and as Jan Tanner can tell you:  any time you’re not on the crap end of a monopoly stick, well friend, the livin’ can be very, very easy – summertime, winter, spring and fall -- year-round easy livin’.

And so those centrally-located peoples claiming to be proud and patriotic are invited to prove it -- driving an average of 25 miles either way to military installations at the far northern or far southern outskirts of town; patiently waiting for and willingly submitting to the heightened security protocols, measures and procedures certain to accompany the privilege; who knows what kind of parking, walking or seating clusterf*ck one might encounter; and then jockeying against 50,000 others for pole position to exit the base when the spectacular red, white and blue patriotica show is over.

Somehow, I doubt that people will be permitted to spread out blankets, or lay on their backs in the grass to gaze at the brilliant colors lighting up the night sky.  Sir, Ma'am...please take your seats.

Not feeling quite that patriotic?  Fuel tank runnin’ low and got no inflated dough?  Well, if for whatever reason the on-post options fail to appeal, you can always go to the much smaller shows ten or so miles away in nearby Manitou, Widefield, Fountain, or stay (barely) within city limits and go to Sky Sox Stadium (I refuse to call it anything but -- so nyahh); heck, bring the tent and camp over night in Lake George.

And those of you without a car?  Well, you, friends, are S.O.L -- no fireworks for you.  Besides, didn’t you know?  It’s a scientific fact that the wealthy are more patriotic than the poor …and so why should the city waste money shooting off fireworks for a bunch of unpatriotic poor people?  Be glad you got the day off...

...oh, you're unemployed?  You don't say...well, then get a job. 

We’re not just talking about people downtown, or in neighborhoods with higher numbers of minorities; we’re talking about people in the Wasson neighborhood, Garden Ranch neighborhood, the Old North End, Rustic Hills – I'm talking about some very beautiful, solid brick houses, and people who have paid their property taxes and supported our city and the military for years.  Our town is being turned into a ghetto from the inside out…our people are becoming destitute...and the people with all the money just keep scooting out a bit further into the country, turning the country into city, until they’re really not even a part of Colorado Springs any longer…taking from those of us in the middle, and then beating us up for not being rich like them.

Friends, listen carefully, and you’ll begin to discern a sound – that of the rending of the very fabric of our society…thread by thread…as time-held traditions and institutions come to be trivialized and dismissed as unimportant and unnecessary.

The concept of every kind of American…coming together for a day just to be American together is a national treasure.

But some people have a one-track mind – they only understand and appreciate a love of money; they have stronger ties outside of Colorado, outside of the United States, than they do to their neighbors; in so many cases, they’re literally un-American…anti-American…and because pride and love of country are difficult to convert to the gold standard, the wealthy, powerful, and elite have dismissed its value entirely…utterly without a clue.

This whole thing about the Memorial Park fireworks provides us with a perfect analogy of what’s happening to us as a people, and to the United States as a country:  those of us in the center, in the middle, have been surrounded by people on society’s outskirts -- on the fringe; the last thing these people want is for us to pull together a united front and take a stand.

These people wish to return the United States to a monarchy…and they want to be our kings and queens. And you know that we have come upon a sad, dark and dismal day when our people are more proud to be gay, lesbian and transsexual than they are to be Americans.

And meanwhile, the real firecrackers become more and more rare; the real patriots are shut down and silenced.  

How frighteningly easy it will be to divide and conquer us as a people...and someday in the not-too-distant future, we'll be observing Servitude Day.  

A national tragedy indeed.

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