Sunday, July 5, 2009

Independence Day

I meant to write this blog yesterday. I usually write them on the 4th of every month. That's easy for me to remember because my birthday is on the 4th of October. Unfortunately, yesterday's 4th of July holiday festivities drove everything else out of my mind. With the parade that, um...parades...past my house at 9 a.m. to the fireworks exploding overhead at night, not to mention the barbeques, beer, and bonfires in between, Independence Day is enough to distract anyone.

My original plan was to blog about the joys of summer this month. I think that topic will be postponed until August, though, because instead I'd like to talk about break-up letters. Oddly, the 4th of July is my inspiration for this month's blog. For those of you who are not American or who have never been in America during early July, let me explain this fantastic holiday. It's the anniversary of the day that the American Founding Fathers finally decided they'd had enough of British colonial rule and officially declared that the United States of America was an independent nation. The Founding Fathers, including such notable men as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence, which listed their many complaints against King George III.

In essence, the Declaration of Independence is possibly the world's most famous break-up letter. Have any of you ever written (or received) one of those letters to (or from) a former significant other that lists his/her (or your) faults in painful detail? You might have written about he snores like a chainsaw, or how she picks her teeth at the dinner table, or how he's a premature ejaculator, or how it would be a service to humanity if she had her driver's license revoked. Alternatively, you might have learned from a former lover that your breath smells like tuna, or yes your ass does look fat in those pants, or his mother always said he could do better, or she hates your stupid little yappy dog. Whatever the break-up letter says, the end result is the same. The party writing the letter thinks the party receiving the letter sucks, and he/she needs to make a clean break in order to get on with life.

The American Founding Fathers wrote the political equivalent of a break-up letter in 1776 when they decided to make a clean break from Britain and get on with life as an independent nation. They explained that King George had taxed the colonies without their consent. They complained that the King's soldiers abused the colonists. They pointed out that the King left his dirty socks and underwear on the bedroom floor. You get the picture – it was a standard break-up letter.

So on the 4th of July every year, Americans celebrate the bravery of our Founding Fathers by marching in parades, barbequing pieces of cow or chicken, sucking down beer, and watching fireworks light up the night sky. Hopefully, they also remember how much we owe to the men who started our country. If we had not won our Revolutionary War, every man whose name was signed to the Declaration of Independence would have been executed for treason against King George.

When we write (or receive) break-up letters today, we might shed a few tears, or find ourselves wondering whether we'll ever find true love, or have to give back that comfy Chicago Bears t-shirt that had somehow made its way into our dresser drawer while we were dating the now-former significant other. Usually modern break-up letters don't result in the letters' authors being drawn and quartered in the town square as an example to fellow traitors, however. And that is yet another reason to be grateful this 4th of July holiday.

Kimberly Garland

1 comment:

Genella deGrey said...

Hi Kimberly - I've never written nor received a break-up letter - but from now on, I will remember the 4th of July as the day our Founding Fathers broke up with the King of England.

What a great spin!

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