It was the 4th of July yesterday. A day that celebrates the founding of our nation, with all its hopes and dreams for a civilized society and inalienable rights given to all humanity.
But, from what I saw, no one spent the day mourning the death of said nation. No one spent the day yearning for its resurrection. No, most spent the day drinking beer, blowing shit up, and, in Utah County, booing U.S. Soldiers.
Before talking about reddest county in the universe, let me talk to you about this article.
It's entitled, "A Not So Glorious Fourth" by the Philadelphia Inquirer's Chris Satullo. The subtitle was "U.S. Artocities Are Unworthy of Our Heritage". That about says it all, but I encourage you to read it.
They've given us so many detractions these days, (Gas prices, a failing economy, job cut-backs, Madonna's marriage, etc) that we just assumed that America was still the shiny beacon of hope and justice it was at its founding. You might guess that it's not our fault if we didn't notice the great sins committed in the last 8 years. But you would have guessed wrong. We've noticed.
Unfortunately in this country, crimes against humanity and unConstitutional acts of treachery often comes with a stamp of "Patriotism" on them. Patriotism, like religion, has become a bastardized mutant of its original meaning and purpose. Many in this country have fallen folly to this deceiving guise. I don't want to call these people ignorant fools or mentally retarded clowns, but those are the only definitions my brain can come up with right now.
So, that takes us to Utah County, a virtual cornucopia of said patriots. Folks there give President Bush his current highest approval ratings nationwide. When Bush came to Utah last month, they threw millions of dollars his way. They loved, repeat loved, Mitt Romney with his promise to "double Guantanamo". Dick Cheney came and spoke at Brigham Young University's graduation last year to a cheering crowd of 50,000. And they laughed at all his jokes. And American flags? Not only are there hundreds of them flying about, but they even have their own American Flag factory.
But all of that is child's play when it comes to the 4th of July. These people go butter nuts around this time of year. The love it so much, that the festivities begin in mid-June with the launch of the annual "America's Freedom Festival". Dozens of activities where people try to prove they love freedom the most. There's the "most patriotic baby" contest where parents dress their kids up in such costumes as a marine holding a toy gun or a fighter pilot riding around in a toy bomber plane. Most of the kids are just doused in shit loads of red, white and blue and plopped on multiple tables in front of google-eyed judges. I've attended one of these horror shows before and it's like being stuck in the middle of a National Geographic anthropological study.
To save time, I will just say that dozens and dozens of events occur over the course of an entire month so that everyone in Utah County gets to celebrate the fuck out of America.
All of it culminates into, what I've coined as, the largest masturbatorium of patriotic elitism... "The Stadium of Fire". About 50,000 people cram into BYU's football stadium every 4th of July (or 3rd if the 4th is on a Sunday cuz God doesn't want you celebrating America on His day) and the crowd is hosted by a slew of intellectual giants such as Sean Hannity, Oliver North, or, this year, Glenn Beck.
I took a camera crew to one of these fascinating events back in 2004 when Hannity was hosting. The event would have even sent Hunter S. Thompson into catatonic shock. As soon as Hannity takes the stage, he announces to the entire audience that the U.S. had "found WMD in Iraq". The crowd had a conniption. They cheered and applauded for what seemed like 5 straight minutes. After that, everyone in the crowd had been given either a red, white or blue card. When they all lifted it above their heads, it turned into a gigantic flag mosaic. Hannity opined, "I think we have created the world's biggest American flag". The crowd went wild again, some throwing their American flag cards to the ground in order to clap and whistle.
The fireworks show ended the night and, goes without saying, the crowd fucking loved that shit too. The last fireworks ignited that night were flaming signs of all the corporate sponsors. I kid you not.
Flash forward to the 2008 show. Glenn Beck, whom I've heard just totally loves freedom, hosted the show and Miley "Hannah Montana" Cyrus was the closing act. But, in the middle of the program, a surprise. Utah soldiers serving in Iraq were linked live via satellite to the giant stadium screens for their families to watch. Their families had no idea this was going to happen. Some burst into tears.
One soldier said, "I can't believe I kept the surprise. I miss you."
The crowd went crazy with supportive applause.
And then another soldier picked up a University of Utah flag (BYU's rival) and said "Go Utes!" (the name of the football team).
The crowd's cheers turned into boos and jeers.
To recap, the crowd starting booing an American soldier while he stood in the hot desert of Iraq.
They supported him serving his country. They supported the flag he wore. They supported his sacrifice. And then he said he liked a football team that they didn't like and so they told him to go fuck himself.
And thus is Utah County. And the rest of the flag-waving "Obama is Muslim Terrorist" numbskulls in the country. Patriotism, at its very core, has become nothing more than a compensation for retardation. Filling in the stupid holes of our society with its empty elitism.
I tell ya, when the line between being a patriot or a traitor depends on what football team you like, we are all seriously screwed.
Update # 1:
On July 5th, the day after Utah County showed the whole world had patriotic they were, this story hit.
Watch Glenn Beck cry and the ghosts of Iwo Jima spin in their graves.
Watch a wave of 50,000 flags while tanks fire and army men parachute from the sky.