Because of inclement weather yesterday, the local "Big Bang Boom" fireworks display was postponed to this evening. They really couldn't have asked for a better night -- clear skies, comfortable temperatures. Rather than fight the crowd out at the lake, we always opt to watch the display from a friend's house. We miss some of the ground stuff, but we have a perfect view of the big show.
In addition to an amazing display of fireworks, a local radio station adds a soundtrack that mixes pop, rock, country, and your typical patriotic fare. In addition to a bizarre "oral report" on The Wizard of Oz (which I suspect was just an excuse for them to play "Defying Gravity"), the soundtrack also included a couple country songs I'd never heard before. One was called "Chicken Fried" and it was your typical "regular Joe" crap about liking fried chicken, cold beer, and finding jeans that fit your fat ass -- oh, and, you know, America and the troops. I mean, thanks to the troops, we get to eat fried chicken as often as we'd like.
This song got me to thinking -- are we the only country in the world that creates hits out of this sort of jingoistic propaganda? I mean, are there songs in England celebrating scones and thanking their troops for ensuring they can put chocolate chips OR blueberries in their scones? Do the French have odes to the croissant? And doesn't it make you wonder what people from other countries think about songs like this that seemingly celebrate the lowest common denominator as if it's something special? I mean, the implication of this song is that REAL Americans like their chicken fried -- totally ignoring the fact that this is the least healthy way to enjoy your chicken. Me? I like my chicken baked. I guess I might as well pack up for Canada right now.
Here's the thing -- I am patriotic. I love this country. I never fail to tear up when I hear "The Star Spangled Banner" -- it's powerful imagery and when I think about the story behind the song, it kind of gets to me every single time. I don't necessarily wear my patriotism on my sleeve, and I recognize there are times when my government has made mistakes or when people in this country make choices that I think may not be the strongest. I don't need to sing about it and shove other people's faces in my patriotism, nor do I think that the way I prefer my chicken is any sort of indication of my patriotism or apparent lack thereof.
Just a little something to chew on as we enter into our nation's 234th year.