One of the scourges around these parts for our friends of the flora and fauna variety is Ivy and Mistletoe. Many a good healthy Tree has been felled by these green parasites that suck the very life out of them. The bewildering point when dealing with some people is that they don't like it when one tries to trim back these leafy vermin. "If it weren't for the vine or the mistletoe, there wouldn't be any green on that old dead tree; leave it there!" Out of their ignorance they don't realize that it is those remaining "green" spots that killed the Tree in the first place and trying to remove them from the surrounding younger Trees is an attempt to save those Trees from the same fate.
America is a lot like that these days. There are a lot of little traditions and rituals that have crept into our modern version of patriotism that people think have been there all along since the founding and are somehow the right thing to do when celebrating our "Freedom" when in fact they are exactly the opposite of what we should do. And those who try to "trim" these little habits so as to preserve the original "Empire of Liberty" (Thomas Jefferson) are soundly criticized and ridiculed.
Today we have loyalty oaths and national anthems and codes that requires us to form our bodies into certain shapes while we recite or sing them. Though their roots are from earlier times, both the "Pledge of Allegiance" and the "Star-Spangled Banner" as they are currently constituted come to us through acts of Congress during America's Progressive (read: "National Socialism") Era of the 1930's and 40's. You'll never see a You-Tube video of Jefferson reciting the "Pledge..." because as a libertarian Anti-Federalist he would have adamantly refused to do so (regardless that the video camera had not been invented yet).
We have people who engage in worshipful acts of adoration of the members of the U.S. military. Now I can see wanting to show gratitude for someone who has rescued you from a dangerous situation but the last time that the U.S. military even remotely repelled a foreign invader from U.S. soil was World War II. "Fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" is a poor excuse for throwing the first punch in a criminal assault and invading foreign lands to kill innocent people, who are themselves fighting to repel a foreign invader, has never made anyone safe.
And then we have people covering themselves and their property with images of the banner of the Federal government. They are free to dress as they wish but when one wears the "Stars and Stripes" on an article of clothing they are implying that they are employees of the Federal government and, if you aren't paid and you aren't allowed to resign, you're not really an employee either. When they stake the flag on their property they're saying that their property belongs to the Federal government (which our benevolent government officials at the Federal level seem to believe anyway).
So this day let us not celebrate the accident at our birth of which empire we were born into (immigrants are excepted) and instead let us trim away the misguided ultra-patriotism that the parasites of our society want us to waste our valuable time on. Let us celebrate and pledge to protect the fact that we are a nation of independent, freedom-loving, rugged individualists that can choose for ourselves the course and destiny of our own lives and let us extend this thought to all who would come and peacefully join us in watering the Tree of Liberty...
Happy Independence Day!