I have created a bit of Independence Day tradition for myself, which is coming up with an American Bicentennial inspired outfit and wearing it to Knott’s Berry Farm’s recreation of Independence Hall. I originally had planned a different outfit for the day, a dress I bought from Tiki Kiki Vintage, but when Junk 4 Joy posted a picture of an utterly over the top dress perfect for the Fourth, I rushed over, tried it on, and bought it.
Since November 2016, some days are more difficult than others. The days leading up to yesterday, and yesterday itself ranked among the more difficult days. In light of the many atrocities of the White House, it is hard to be patriotic and celebrate the United States. As a historian, with a focus on the United States, I know our nation’s history is marred with injustices and harm to our environment, but in between we have made progress to right the wrongs of the past and move toward a more egalitarian and eco-friendly society. Today I see so many attempts to roll back the progress done in the past with regards to race, gender, sexual orientation, and environmentalism. It breaks my heart. So, it is immensely difficult to celebrate the 4th of July in the traditional “Yay USA!” kind of way. However, I decided to look at this holiday in a different light, in the way that our Founding Fathers did – with hope. I am not celebrating what my country is, I am celebrating what it can be, what it might be. I hope that all of this injustice, corruption, and pain helps to turn a tide of change. I want people to be inspired to fight for a better place for all, just as our forefathers did. We are all human, regardless of our race, gender, sexual orientation, and heritage.