Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy (Lack of) Independence Day

Cool fireworks have, as long as I can remember, been illegal in Michigan. By "cool," I mean anything that leaves the ground or explodes, which pretty much rules out anything but sparklers and "fountain" style fireworks.

Nevertheless, when I was a kid, it was very easy to get your hands on many of the verboten things-that-went-boom. Why, right on the counter at the local party store, displayed prominently for the buyin', was such contraband as bottle rockets (AKA "Whistling Moon Travelers with Report)," firecrackers, Roman candles, and jumping jacks. The cops never seemed to care. They probably figured it was un-American to harrass anyone for blowing stuff up in celebration of this country's founding, so they minded their own business.

Even around eight years ago, it was a pretty simple matter to go to a local store and find something you could fire into the air and blow up. These days? You can't find anything but sparklers and crappy fountain style fireworks. I suppose you can still find cool stuff, but it seems you would really have to work at it now, and before, you most certainly did not.

At a party last night, I was sad that we adults had nothing for the kids but these lame fountain things. I couldn't help but remember back to when I was a kid, and a fellow named Chuck would put on a display of marvelous aerial pyrotechnics on the corner of our block. People from the neighborhood all came to watch the blazes and hear the explosions of all kinds of wonderful fireworks, some acquired from such faraway lands as Ohio or Indiana.

I mention this, I guess, just because this holiday mostly just bums me out now. The government we suffer under is magnitudes more unreasonable and tyrannical than the one the Founders separated us from. People have become accustomed to giving up their liberties and trusting the state to do everything for them -- including celebrating "Indpependence."

For this those men pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor?