Last Update: 7/04/2016

Patriotism, Like Love, Is a Goddamn Mess

I was not born in America, I was born on my land. I am America.
How does Vanholio feel about July 4 Independence Day and the USA? Well, let’s just say it’s complicated. But not nearly as much as for U.S. Native Americans. Yet many are patriots! What’s the fucking lesson here!?

Native Americans Got Grievances

First off, most of their ancestors didn’t want to be part of the USA. Hell, most of their ancestors were probably killed off by U.S. soldiers and settlers.

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One of the reasons the colonies declared independence was to be able to kill injuns and take their land (before they killed "us," they thought). Read the fucking “Declaration of Independence” if you don’t believe me!

Those Native Americans that survived Manifest Destiny were forced onto reservations, starved, had their kids sent to boarding schools and forbidden to speak their language, and even their religions were outlawed.

Things are better than that today. But Native Americans are still one of the most fucked-over minorities in this country. Don’t believe me? Go drive around a few reservations.

Yet Native Americans Celebrate July 4

Many (not all) Native Americans are proud to be U.S. citizens, enjoy this country’s freedoms, and are honored to serve in our armed forces.

Bunches of tribes celebrate July 4 in a big way. There’s some mixed history to the celebrations there, but the fireworks still fly and the barbecues are still sizzling down on the rez.

Mescalero Apaches Honor Their Marine

Yesterday I went to see the Independence Day ceremonial dances on the Mescalero Apache reservation.

A young Marine was being honored that afternoon: Private First Class Colorado Mangas. They way the Apache figure it, he's serving to protect them, his community.

Private Mangas is a direct descendant of Apache war chief Mangas Colorado, who gave the Mexican and U.S. armies hell for decades. Old Mangas was killed by the U.S. Army in the end – after being tortured.

You never saw a Marine stand taller, prouder than Private Mangas in his dress uniform, dancing and shaking his rattle, waving his eagle-feather fan. He is a Marine's Marine and an Apache's Apache.

In the Honor Dance, lines of men and women danced alongside and behind Private Mangas, saying to the world, “I stand with this man. His service does us proud.” It was more touching than any braggy goddamned speech I’ve ever heard.

Behind the dancers, Old Glory waved high on the flagpole.

Vanholio’s Independence Day Lesson?

Shit, I don’t know. The real history of this country is pretty bloody, cruel, and mixed up. Our present is a goddamned mess. But maybe that’s always true for Man the so-called Wise, wherever we are.

And it’s been much worse in other times and places.

And anyway, we’re all in this together. So maybe it’s best to appreciate what we got here in the USA and try to love and help one another.

And let’s not let one election get us at each other’s throats too much.

And maybe patriotism, like love, is fucking messy. At least if you think once in a while.

And that’s as much July 4th sunshine as Vanholio’s going to blow up your ass.

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See ...

Will Tonight's Election Results Be Good or Bad?
Fuck the 2016 Presidential Debates
6 Great US Presidents and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Cracked)

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