NSP Guide to an Alternative July 4 Celebration

As we prepare for and consider how we celebrate July 4, I think it’s worth thinking about how else we might celebrate, and what our celebrations say about us.

The Network of Spiritual Progressives several years back created A Guide to an Alternative July 4 Celebration with some interesting ideas for an Interdependence Day celebration.

Faced with July 4th celebrations that are focused on militarism, ultra-nationalism, and “bombs bursting in air,” many American families who do not share those values turn July 4th into another summer holiday focused on picnics, sports and fireworks while doing their best to avoid the dominant rhetoric and bombast…
…We also acknowledge that in the 21st century there is a pressing need to develop a new kind of consciousness–a recognition of the interdependence of everyone on the planet. A new revolution is necessary–one in which our actions reflects a realization that our well-being depends on the well-being of everyone else on the planet and of the planet itself.

I think many of their ideas regarding what to celebrate, and how, are worth thinking about.

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9 Responses to “NSP Guide to an Alternative July 4 Celebration”

  1. Wesley W Says:

    There are many beautiful sentiments in that leeengthy July 4th creed. But many ugly myths, lies, and ideas, too.
    I’m not comfortable using the 4th of July as a platform for this kind of propaganda (especially the ridiculous legislation that is the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment). I think it irreverent to ignore – the way the NSP does – what occasions the 4th of July is really founded on, “bombs bursting in air” and all. Much of the nation’s history is misrepresented and skewed by the NSP, and the sanctimonious tone isn’t too appealing. But I don’t think something like this is politically motivated or ill-conceived. I applaud people doing and thinking what they deem is right, as long as it isn’t based on revisionist history and straw man arguments.

  2. Derek Staffanson Says:

    Revisionist history is a very loaded and subjective term, Wes. If conventional history glosses over certain ugly truths or perpetuates falsehoods, should it not be revises?

    In my experience, conventional US history holds many harmful inaccuracies.

    Isn’t the very celebration of the 4th of July by its very nature a form of propoganda, a platform for nationalism? Let alone the way it is traditionally celebrated propoganda for militarism. After all, to be accurate, what occasions the 4th of July was not bursting in air, but rather the catalyzation of a concept in the signing of a document, one drafted after much discussion and built upon many decades of political and moral philosophy. Why not make the celebration focus on that crucial aspect of the US founding rather than the martial character, which so often leads nations down dark paths?

    I’d agree that the ESRA is not really a practical idea. I’m not in favor of filling the Constitution with message legislation. However, I fully support the concepts of the amendment, and appreciate the idea of giving those moral concepts some recognition on the day we celebrate what our nation can be. In particular, I love the concept of setting aside the vain American Exceptionalism of the holiday, and turning it to more of an appreciation of the interdependence that we all share as individuals and as nations.

  3. SUNNofaB.C.Rich Says:

    Gee, buddy. are you saying there wasn’t a highly necessary and unavoidable fight involved in this country becoming independent? Maybe youre into omissionist history, how about that?

  4. Derek Staffanson Says:

    No, buddy, that isn’t what I said. There have been many revolutions on this history of the planet, many times people have taken up arms against a government. The American Revolution has the distinction of being seemingly the first such revolution to have been based on principles born of the Enlightenment and Humanism, and was able to largely maintained those principles in ultimately establishing the Constitution. Emphasizing that over the martial aspects of the revolution isn’t “omissionist,” it’s an attempt to keep the Revolution in a more accurate context, as well as one less prone to be abused for military adventurism.

  5. SUNNofaB.C.Rich Says:

    as much as I don’t like the whole stadium of fire nonsense I just can’t agree with you, because I get the impression you take for granted that there are people who have taken an oath to support and defend the constitution and by their very existence have done so over the years. I get the feeling you turn your nose up at them so i’m pretty unsympathetic and hope the militarism keeps getting shoved in your face.

  6. CBlox Says:

    Derek, I have always enjoyed visiting your blog and have agreed with you on many ideas you have shared but with this one I think you are off base. I have been turned off with this latest post and think you should explain what positions or ideas of “the guide” you support. You owe it to your readers. If I dont get an explanation-I will never visit your blog again. The choice is now yours!

  7. Derek Staffanson Says:

    Thanks for visiting, CBLox. I’m a bit surprised and amused that you seem to be shocked by this post. If you’ve followed me for awhile, you must have seen that I make my staunch support for such progressive organizations as the NSP and their agendas. I don’t care for threats, and I don’t owe anybody anything on this blog. But I also have nothing to hide, and would be happy to point out which items in the link are of value, worth considering or support.

    I believe that the NSP is right that the 4th has been too focused on militarism and nationalism (which, as I pointed out in a prior post regarding Independence Day, is simply a form of pride). I believe we should think about how we can use the holiday to raise a new kind of consciousness, one which has more consideration for the contributions of those aside from soldiers and politicians, one which recognizes those who’ve struggled in non-martial ways to help the nation better represent its core principles, and attempted to make life better for our communities through civic and community action, who’ve fought against prejudice and oppression of various sorts. I believe we should strive for more humility in our nation, and better recognize the interdependence we share with all other nations and peoples. We should focus less on self-interest and more on the interests of the community, from the neighborhood community to the world community.

    I think that what the NSP describes as “the Strategy of Domination” has indeed been the primary paradigm which has guided or nation’s foreign policy, and that the “Strategy of Generosity” would be a much more effective and noble model.

    I do not wholly endorse the “Global Marshall Plan,” but believe we should consider the sorts of actions proposed in that plan, recognize the value of the principles behind them, and seek how else can apply those principles.

    Similarly, I don’t believe we should amend the Constitution with the ESRA. Ultimately, such an amendment would change the character of the Constitution, and would serve primarily as message legislation (both sorts of things I’ve opposed in previous posts). But I believe that the concepts in the proposed amendment are very important. should guide legislation at the federal and state level.

    Does that answer your question. Whether that placates you or not really doesn’t matter to me. Leave or not; losing readers who feel to be demanding the only time they decide to communicate doesn’t terribly bother me.

  8. SUNNofaB.C.Rich Says:

    Hey, just a reminder that the 24th of July is coming up… Just a heads up so you can write a post taking exception to either the holiday itself or how people celebrate it. Maybe you could suggest that people emphasize the act of someone thinking of migrating west and completely ignore the physical act of doing it etc etc. Or you could suggest everyone disregard the holiday entirely because certain groups of people might feel left out. I know you’ll come through, sport.

  9. SUNNofaB.C.Rich Says:

    Nothing? I’m rather disappointed there champ.

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