“The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.”

-H.L. Mencken

There is perhaps no national holiday that has been more debauched and bastardized in the era of the flag-sucker that began on September 12, 2001 than The Fourth of July. Independence Day used to be a celebration of rebellion from tyranny when the Declaration of Independence was rolled out back in 1776 telling King George and the British to shove jolly old England straight up their asses, a declaration of war against the mighty Empire by those who desired to be free rather than subjects. Even prior to The Day When Everything Changed , The Fourth of July had already been bled of most of its true meaning into a crass celebration of the worship of the American state along with retail sales, baseball games, barbecues, concerts and parties and above all the ultimate symbol of all – the US flag.

The eruption of raw nationalism and supplication of oneself to the all-powerful authoritarian machine that while well known outside of US borders – particularly to the victims of the despotic regimes funded by big moneyed corporate and financial interests in too many countries to easily list – had yet to be unleashed domestically and when it was then any remaining vestiges of a free republic and a functional democracy perished. A new and dangerous era of the perversion of all that this country once stood for was forged in the furnace of the inferno of the collapsing World Trade Center towers and unleashed upon the planet like a malevolent army of darkness. The true darkness, the pitch black void that replaced the American soul took this country by the throat and bludgeoned the population into meek submission to a rising domestic tyranny through fear, demagoguery and most importantly of all – the thirst for blood vengeance to be exacted for the taking down of the towers. From that day on, we became a nation of sheep, arisen from the ashes and united under fascism.

It is a difficult slog to get through this national holiday anymore given the hypocrisy, phoniness, ignorance and acceptance of that big slice of apple pie authoritarianism that has been shoved down our throats here in the USA!, USA! USA! and the bacchanal of bullshit wrapped in the flag and served up warm by the media and political figures with the occasional celebrity mixed in. This is not the day to watch televised sporting or other events as the already intolerable level of faux patriotic hogwash that rises to overkill gets turned up several notches. Just like the NFL games the Sunday before veterans day and all of the militarist masturbation that saturates them, or near the annual anniversary of 9/11 which through some collective display of national mental sickness has been inventively tabbed as Patriot Day. The worst will be tonight as the fireworks displays are set off after a good amount of drinking and feasting on pink slime burgers and industrial sewage stuffed hot dogs has taken place. The strains of Lee Greenwald’s “God Bless the USA” will resonate across the fruited plain just as our alternate national anthem “God Bless America” will and there will be nary a dry eye in the land as we celebrate our glorious uniformed heroes.

But really, what does this country – now repackaged as The Homeland – truly stand for in the middle of the second decade of the new American century? Here are but a few of those things that result in convulsions of national pride and the waving of cheaply made flags to the strains of drunkenly warbled paeans to patriotism:

It is NSA surveillance – without warrants or probable cause – of millions of law-abiding American citizens, the latest in an ongoing series of ghastly revelations is that even the mere researching of internet privacy tools makes one subject to scrutiny and branded as an “extremist” and a “terrorist”.

It is using the NSA surveillance to target groups based upon their religion and ethnicity –particularly Muslims who have been selected as that most necessary of things to a totalitarian state – a national scapegoat. Hitler had the Jews and our God-kissed, exceptional Christian nation has the Muslims. Not that most Americans give a tin shit and I suspect that many will be roasting copies of the Koran at their Fourth of July BBQ’s today.

It is a Supreme Court packed with Catholic corporate fascists who only days ago ruled that employees can be subject to the religious ideologies of their corporate employers. It is the ultimate legal seal of approval on the persecution of non-Christians by narrow-minded, judgmental, superstitious bigots as well as the triumph of the willfully ignorant. But institutionalized discrimination is as much an American tradition as mom and apple pie and foreign wars.

It is an army of enraged armchair patriots, waving their made in China miniature versions of Old Glory and screaming indignities at refugee children in California – what they don’t bother to tell them on FOX News is that if their skin isn’t red ,then their own foreign born descendants once sought refuge in this country as well. The most disgusting aspect of this is that they were targeting children for Christ’s sake.

It is an economy that enriches the few and the connected with government subsidized gambling money, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shattered the 17,000 mark yesterday to the gleeful squealing of the pigs who profit off of such exploitation at the expense of others. There was jubilation from the propagandizing media shills over the creation of a whopping288,000 McJobs and those Fourth of July parties in Martha’s Vineyard, The Hampton’s and other enclaves of the looter class will be particularly lavish today as the majority of Americans are suffering from a crushing rise in food and energy prices.

It is a 19 month old child maimed when a military flash grenade was thrown into his crib in Georgia during one of those increasingly commonplace no-knock home invasions by our national paramilitary police goon squads who are glorified in movies and on television despite the obvious tracking towards the militarizing of law enforcement. The ACLU just released a report entitled “The War Comes Home” on this black-suited menace to any concept of a free society.

It is a newly invigorated wave of fear-mongering thanks to the deteriorating situation in the Middle East where US meddling and destabilization has set Iraq ablaze and Obama is sending American servicemen and women back into the Mesopotamian meat-grinder for the the third time since 1991. The rise of ISIS and the new caliphate is like a gift from the Gods to the surveillance and security state and the billions upon billions of dollars of taxpayer money that is funneled into tighter airport security and spying. The airport security is especially convenient in that it serves to condition the population to be obedient to the state and accept humiliations inflicted upon it. Oh lord how the money is going to roll in and it is pretty damned good politics heading in to the latest leg of our perpetual election cycle in Der Heimat.

It is an American prisoner of war, Bowe Bergdahl being crucified by warmongers upon a red, white and blue cross of hatred as a symbol of their failed wars.

It is the funding of neo-Nazi death squads operating along with the illegitimate, US backed coup government of Petro Poroshenko in Ukraine as ethnic cleansing is conducted in the eastern part of that misery ridden country and covered up by the sycophantic, state-controlled mainstream US corporate media.

It is the relentless crusade by extremist politicians – particularly neocons and Republicans to keep the offshore torture facility and concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay open for business and the flag flying high over all of the heinous and barbaric acts that have been inflicted upon those imprisoned there. But more importantly, to keep it open until the political climate is just right to start sending American citizens and political dissidents there – which will be soon.

It is a country as steeped in backwards ass religious fundamentalism that rejects science, free thinking and basic human dignity just like their mortal enemies who practice fundamentalist Islam. There is really very little real difference between the two and our American “Christians” will delight in engaging in their own waves of cruelty and atrocities when the time comes.

It is a glorious national celebration of our “freedom” as exemplified by a massive fireworks display over New York City oozing with so much militarism that it conjures memories of the old USSR. All that’s missing are columns of tanks and missile launchers rolling across the George Washington Bridge to the thunderous strains of Lee Greenwood.

It is Dick Cheney having rough anal sex with an inflatable statue of liberty doll, after he tortures it of course.

And most of all it is ignorance and hypocrisy but such inconvenient things are easily washed away by the holy water of American exceptionalism and the adherents to this dogma frolic naked in those waters as though they were lepers splashing away in the fountains at Lourdes.

And it is all horseshit, patriotic upchucking and a dishonor to all of those who died in wars for “those freedoms” that are so exalted – at least the wars prior to when the USA!, USA!, USA! went totally rogue shortly after World War II and eventually cut a bloody swath through Vietnam before ending up in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond.  So happy fucking Fourth of July! Have a beer and just try not to think about reality.

Those who are nauseated to the spectacle of the cheap veneration of the flag as somehow being the symbol for this country rather than the ideals upon which it was founded can take some solace that the US soccer team was knocked out of the World Cup on Tuesday for the vomit-inducing hero worship would be intolerable were there to be a match today. Hell, it used to be that American’s didn’t give a rat’s ass about soccer – it was for sissies, real men after all play football. But the outpouring of nationalism at huge World Cup viewing parties this year is really more than just being about soccer – it is about opening that can of American whup-ass and pouring it out all over any other country that lies outside the borders and that is what our recent explosion of soccer mania really is when you strip away the star spangled facade. The losers did get a glorious consolation prize when they were honored by the Pope of American exceptionalism – President Barack Obama who scored in the public relations game by calling selected members of the losing team to congratulate them after the game.

So it could be worse.. but it is a damned good day to drink heavily, especially since this year it fell on a Friday and tomorrow isn’t a workday.

And all of that stuff about the Founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence, when you take a good look around none of it really matters much anymore does it?