I’ve never been too interested in American icons like flags and anthems and liberty bells, although as a child I read a biography of Betsy Ross, and once composed a tribute to my Golden Retriever, Milo, to the tune of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
But I’ll tell you, I warmed right up to the picture of the Statue of Liberty that I found on my 2008 Economic Stimulus Payment — the first check I’ve gotten from the federal treasury in a long, long time.
There it was, made out to me, no strings attached, and I knew it was sent with full permission to spend. Glad as I was to have it, it seemed strangely irresponsible that our government is sending us our own money to blow. Never mind that people have more consumer debt than ever and more crap than anyone in their right mind needs. Buy more. It's alright. Spend it.
That’s what our government’s doing. It's putting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on the giant MasterCharge, the one with no limit. It's blowing money, literally, every single second. Why should we taxpayers miss out on all the fun?
I see the check, sitting on my table this Fourth of July, and I think of the lyrics by the sovereignty group, Sudden Rush:
“The lady with the torch don’t mean nothing to me cuz Mauna Kea is my statue of liberty.”
Strange, how despite the lofty ideals set forth by our founding fathers, we haven't taken a course much divergent from the militarism and colonialism of the oppressors we shook off. But hey, we have maintained that most precious quintessentially American freedom of all: the freedom to shop.
I look around my house. I can’t think of anything I want or need. I’ll likely just deposit it in the bank, and use it to for my estimated tax payments. I learned a long time ago that there is no free lunch.