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4th of July

fot. Sławomir Ostrowski

Today is the Fourth of July, America’s Independence Day and my father’s birthday, so I should start the 21st entry of Streffa Jeffa as a celebration. I have idea what the theme/subject will be but I am hoping it will appear as I preoceed. This will be an exercise in stream-of-consciousness writing but my wife would prefer the term „an exercise in futility”.  If any of my readers understand this latter term, then you also understand in a weird way why I love my wife so much.

This is the 21st entry, similar to the 21st century, new modern exciting, a new era. America’s founding fathers, the early leaders – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Bengamin Franklin also entered upon a new period in history. I won’t describe it as the first attempt for a country to be truly free and democratic; everybody has their opinion on this matter and I wouldn’t quite agree with it either. However, in the 1770s thirteen British colonies declared their intention to be independent from Britian and then had to go out about fulfilling this. People always declare that they want to change something in their life but how often do they really go through with it. Even more do they know what they would like to change? The American colonists in the 1770s could have behaved like spoiled teenagers angry at ther parents, „We didn’t ask to be part of your stupid British empire on which the sun never sets! We don’t have to pay your stupd ol’ taxes. Plus I’m not going to clean my room! I like it dirty!” Then after a moment, „Hey, can you pick me up from the cinema and take me to McDonald’s for a McFlurry (overrated dessert)?”

Thank God that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and America’s other first leaders (if you’re thinking about Abraham Lincoln I’ll hunt you down and slap you. Losers. This probably includes my 2nd yr English philology students so I’ll fail you as well) were not such spoiled brats and had reasonable well thought-out complaints which they presented in the Declaration of Independence. The War of Independence had started (past perfect tense!) the year before and there were five more years to follow with George Washington commanding the Continental Army (the name for the army of the American colonies). You probably already know that Americans worship Washington; I don’t want to say that he constantly fucked up during the war but definitely at least once or twice.

The Father of our nation did not excell as a military leader but fortunately he was determined and could inspire his soldiers.

Now about the American heroes – the soldiers. Have you ever seen Monty Python and The Holy Grail and when King Arthur’s knights attack the castle but then retreat yelling „Run Away!” This is what the colonial soldiers often did – run away. While England had a professional army, the American soldiers had very little training and just off the farm. When bullets started flying, they „declared their independence” saying „Fuck this” and ran in the opposite direction.

Fortunately, when an army has few soldiers and weapons due to little money, this strategy could work. The Continental Army had to just fight long enough until the British got tired of the heat and mosquitoes and decided to go home. If the Americans had shown their true colours instead of just yellow, maybe they would have used up all their supplies and then be defeated. If only General Robert E. Lee had followed this strategy for the South during the Civil War (Abraham Lincoln was involved in this one, Losers). However, that’s for another blog entry which will be inspired by something besides the fourth of July.

I always include some music in connection with the current topic. Even though I have dealt with America’s Independence Day, we won’t listen to The Star Spangled Banner – the national anthem but instead the music that is played on the Fourth of July: Tchaikowsky’s 1812 Overture and Philip John Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. So, imagine it’s the Fourth of July in Perfect Town, USA. You’re on the lawn of a stately capital building with friends/family enjoying an all-American picnic of hamburgers, hot dogs, cold fried-chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, etc. Everybody is enjoying a symphony orchestra as it plays various musical pieces, usually patriotic. First they begin the 1812 Overture; as it comes to a conclusion when the cannon go off, the fireworks fill up the sky. The grand finale, Stars and Stripes Forever. If you don’t start loving America at this point, I’ll question whethe you have a soul. So enjoy and remember what the Declaration of Independence guarantees, „Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”



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