Today is July 4, 2020. There is not much to celebrate. **** Trump leaves us in a Polynicean gloom. Fireworks remind me of wars. I would rather, and therefore will, listen to Rachmaninov's PIANO CONCERTO NO. 2 tonight.
I will celebrate beauty rather than killing. And I will give thought to Antigone as well, for she willingly gave her life for doing what was right. I shall listen to Yuja **** arpeggiate notes. I will again become fixated both by her light-
ning dexterity and the glorious sounds to which she gives birth. Humankind has this dual potential: it can either **** or care. So why, I ask myself, does it always choose the former? On this national holiday especially, why do we now not celebrate Thomas Paine and Walt Whitman and Harriet Tubman and Eugene Debs and Martin Luther King Jr.? We do we not collectively ask forgiveness for all the covert, sinister, malevolent interventions into the affairs of other nations, resulting in unjust overthrows and war crimes aplenty? Fireworks? July 4th? We did defeat the evil of ****** and his unspeakable genocide. Let us be sure to give unending thanks to all those who lost their lives in this moral victory. But Viet Nam? The lives of 58,000 American soldiers lost for the lies of our leaders? And Kissinger and McNamara and the Bushes and Cheney and so many others in our government never held accountable for their war crimes? And yet tonight we have fireworks instead of Nuremberg-like trials. Antigone knew she would die if she buried her brother, Polynices, and yet she went ahead and buried him and died for doing it. And the 4,000,000 blacks who were slaves in 1861 and the 500 indigenous nations that covered for centuries from sea to shining sea what we now call America--did they have anything to celebrate on this day, on this date? Fireworks, that's all.
Copyright 2020 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet, a novelist, and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.