Matt and I live in DC, right in the belly of the beast, two blocks from the US Capitol. And we’ve been trapped there since mid-March. (Well, except for that time Matt snuck out and drove to Iowa for a beer.) So it’s not surprising that we’ve been become increasingly frustrated with the endless barrage of bad news and negativity coming from mainstream media “experts” constantly telling us that America is fundamentally broken, and always was. Let’s be honest, all this made us pretty cranky.
So last week, we escaped the Beltway bubble and traveled to Alaska. It was the best decision we’ve made in a long time. Here we reconnected with America and what this country is really about. In a word: Freedom. There is plenty of rugged individualism here, but also a wonderful sense of community. On the 4th of July we took a beautiful 12 mile hike on a trail favored by locals, and everyone we passed wished us a happy Independence Day. Most wore red, white and blue.
Alaska of course, isn’t immune to the coronavirus. We had to get tested before we got here, or be subjected to quarantine upon arrival. Some businesses are requiring masks, but since Alaska is all about the outdoors, it’s not a big deal. But there aren’t protests, statues aren’t being knocked down, and as far as we can tell no one is debating whether or not Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln should be erased from our country’s history. It has been such a refreshing change.
We got back to our lodge last night after the hike, poured a cocktail and sat looking out over Resurrection Bay. We were surrounded by an incredible view, sea otters floating by, and enjoying (mostly legal) fireworks being shot off from the campground down on the shore. And because we can’t completely unplug, we started reading a little news. Sadly, there were stories about city fireworks being cancelled across the country. Because, in many of our major cities, some protests are worthy of celebrating, but celebrating American independence isn’t. Fireworks were deemed nonessential, even dangerous to public health. But on Twitter and social media another story was being told.
Americans everywhere weren’t willing to give up their celebrations, because freedom and liberty and independence from government nonsense is still in our DNA.
Families, told by politicians that the Fourth was canceled, quickly privatized the public provision of fireworks displays by shooting off their own. The skies over Los Angeles and Chicago were filled with beautiful starbursts. People weren’t going to bow down to the petty tyranny of nanny statists who no longer consider the American Experiment worth celebrating. Americans once again declared their independence from government oppression with a bang and a boom. This time, not with armed revolution against a tyrannical king, but in peaceful protest using fireworks instead of muskets.
Sadly, we are leaving Alaska tonight. I would stay here longer if it was possible. But there’s a lot of work to do once we get home. We are energized and ready to fight the good fight with renewed faith that most of America is still with us.