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by Jenn Kirkland 5 months ago in opinion

But Muh Rights!

Photo by Weston MacKinnon on Unsplash

Pretty, aren't they?

Yes, I like them as much as the next person... except for the ones that are all noise and no lights, because what IS the point of that?

But there's a disconnect between rights and responsibilities that I think a lot of the people around me do not grok. I've been thinking about it for several days, but it really crystallized for me as I was looking at the infographic about fireworks safety this year on my state governor's Facebook page.

There's a huge drought going on. We had more than a hundred heat-related deaths in the last week in our state alone, and that doesn't even take into consideration more than twice that many in the state to the south or the 500+ in the province to the north. That's just this last week. It's dry out there.

And yet, here we are, with people proclaiming they God-given right to... what? burn it all down in the name of patriotism just for the lulz? You know these folks are not sticking to the safe and sane pretties, either; they are the ones making their own or going to the reservation to buy them even though those are always illegal in non-reservation areas of the state.

Even in my own rural, unincorporated neighborhood, the safe and sane ones are illegal too... except between 9AM and 11:59PM on the Fourth itself. Not that the restrictions are stopping anyone.

Well, that's not true. The restrictions are stopping me - I don't plan to light anything this year; we're sticking to pop its. You know, those little bundles of paper and gunpowder you just throw at the ground? The restrictions stop a few of my neighbors, who won't light anything (and don't do the illegal stuff anyway) until the Fourth.

But a lot of them? Yeah, there are mortar rounds going off in the evenings, and those are not legal in my state, nor before nine in the morning on the Fourth, but here we are.

I find it distressing that the people who proclaim their patriotism the loudest are usually the same people - or at least there is a lot of overlap in that Venn Diagram - who are breaking all the rules and traditions regarding the symbols and heroes of patriotism.

American flags as clothing or other decorative stuff? These violate the flag code. So do those Thin Blue Line flags I keep seeing popping up everywhere. Voting against veterans' benefits is a jerky thing to do; saying you support the troops while continuing to defund them is hypocritical. Decrying immigrants as somehow bad for "your" country is super unpatriotic; everyone here has an immigrant, refugee, or slave in their ancestry... unless their background is 100% indigenous peoples.

Most of us are not.

And then there are the lovely folks who natter on about the 2nd Amendment and their right to bear arms. We could argue about the definition of "well-regulated militia" all day (and have) so I'm not going there this time. But even if the second amendment covers fireworks (I have read that it technically does, since a Supreme Court decision in 2014), local jurisdictions have control. And regardless of how you feel about fireworks as firearms, the second amendment does not give you the right to burn down your state (or country or world) just because you want to blow stuff up for some knee-jerk patriotic "rockets' red glare" fun and games. And to the "patriot" on the aforementioned Facebook page who rambled on for awhile about how we need this because we've all been cooped up against "the China virus plot." 🙄 Fireworks were invented in China.

These are seriously dangerous conditions. It doesn't make you more of a patriot to set your neighborhood alight.

I guess "patriot" and "patriarchy" have a common root for a reason. Buncha folks who think they have the right to do what they want regardless of how others are affected.


Jenn Kirkland

I'm a kinda-suburban, chubby, white, brunette, widowed mom of teens, special services school-bus driver, word nerd, grammar geek, gamer girl, liberal snowflake social justice bard, and proud of it.

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