Perhaps you have heard of “Christmas Depression”.
It’s a fairly well known condition that seems to be caused by a combination of lowering winter daylight levels and increased social pressures associated with the holiday season. In other words: you already feel miserable and everyone’s expectation that you should feel “jolly” only manages to make things worse.
I’ve seen polls that show almost half of the population has experienced these “holiday doldrums” to some degree.
Typically, as the holiday season recedes, and the days grow longer through the seasonal shift from winter to spring to summer, the depression also dulls, replaced by a happier attitude.
In rare cases, this cycle seems to be reversed and longer days bring darker moods.
So here it is…,
I have a hard time with Independence Day.
There, I admitted it, and it’s not an easy admission to make.
There are so many pressures to get out there and furiously wave our little flags and declare for all to hear our unabashed love of country.
Are you not grateful for the many freedoms you possess?
Have you no honor for the thousands who have died to defend your liberty?
Have you no national pride?
And I do feel some measure of pride to be sure, but it is a pride more focused on the individual than on the institution. I am proud of those who have, over the years, stood up and fought against a system that seems hell-bent on denying liberty and equal-rights to all. Yet, for every measure of pride I feel, there is a much greater quantity of sorrow and shame that these battles must be fought at all.
And then fought again, and again, and again.
As I sit up through the late hours of the evening to watch a woman filibuster the Texas legislature, whatever pride I feel in her efforts is overwhelmed by disgust as I watch lawmakers breaking their own rules and then falsifying their own records in an attempt to ram through a law that their constituents never asked for and which is itself, a lie of the worst order.
When, on the following morning, I hear the happy news that DOMA has been struck down by the Supreme Court, my pleasure is tempered as scores of religious demagogues begin to shout and bluster that the end-times must truly be upon us.
Sorry folks, the combination of dirty, religion soaked politics and blistering Texas heat, do not put me in the mood for a heaping slice of apple pie.
And yet, I know that my spirits should be lifted in these days.
The forces arrayed against us may curse and cheat and wave their flags in our faces until the fabric begins to shred, but the smell coming off of them in these hot Summer days is not one of conviction.
It is the stink of fear.
As they begin to see more clearly that the tides turned are against them, that fear will only grow, and like our friends in Austin, they will do all they can to turn back the clock.
And so I say to all those who love the Summer sun, and who are roused by parades and picnics and the red, the white, and the blue, to you I wish a happy and peaceful Independence Day.
I will keep to myself in a nice shady spot, away from the crowds and the bluster. Perhaps I will watch the fireworks from a distance, (it’s the one tradition associated with this time of year that I have always enjoyed) and I will do my best not to rain on anyone’s parade.
Oh, but gods, what I wouldn’t give for a nice refreshing rain, just about now!