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How to Celebrate July 4th When You've Lost Faith in America

American Flag

Our five alternatives to a flag-burning ceremony. 

It may seem impossible to narrow them down, but the most troubling words to continuously spill from Donald Trump's mouth are "America First." Based on Trump's brash track record with foreign policy, and his blatant disregard for vital international pacts (sorry, Paris Climate Agreement), his ongoing, elitist credo scarily supersedes any past president's political rhetoric about America being the "greatest country on Earth."

As the Mexican government would likely attest (as they still reel from the expectation that they should magically pay for a wall they don't want), this relentless philosophy carries dangerous, far-reaching implications, as it broadcasts America not as a nation of patriotism, but of isolationism. As a result, the impending July 4th holiday doesn't exactly have us stoked about celebrating our country's independence, however hard-won that milestone was 241 years ago. It's feeling more like a looming reminder of embarrassing loneliness.

But that doesn't mean we should drastically burn Betsy Ross's handiwork in effigy. Nobody needs a Kathy Griffin-style shit show on her conscience. Instead, we've got five alternative ways to fete this land that was reportedly made for you and me. Don't spark up your stars and stripes--spark a firework for Mika Brzenzki and give your holiday a face-lift.

Throw a powdered-wig party

Powdered wigs--or perukes--actually originated in Europe around the 17th century, when syphillis was sweeping across the continent, subsequent baldness was rampant, and lacking a full head of hair was a sure way to get friend-zoned. (The scented powder blocked out the smell of syphillis sores). The wigs became a trend, made their way into the American colonies, and among the founding fathers who rocked them was pen-happy John Hancock. Whether you're STD-free or not, you, too, can sport this precarious fashion, and if you can't afford a white beehive on Amazon, odds are you know a drag queen who'll let you dust up hers.

Phone a foreign friend

Tired of feeling like Trump's megaphone, with its shrill and ill-conceived output, is the only conduit sending messages abroad? Use a lifeline and take your own action, however small it may seem. Ring up the family you left overseas to come to America to pursue college. Whip out your WhatsApp and reconnect with that European friend you made on your first big business trip. Let them know you respect them and that living here doesn't mean you subscribe to xenophobia. Feeling really ambitious? Buy some snacks from their native land and throw a major FaceTime picnic.

Brush up on that other historic document

Indeed, apart from the indigenous people whose homeland we decided was up for grabs, none us would be here without the Declaration of Independence. But in a time when no amount of shootings, protests, or hashtags seem to drive home the fact that black lives matter, it'd behoove all of us to take a peek at Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, penned nearly 100 years later. If you're new, this trusty Civil War-era scroll not only freed slaves in the South, it ultimately yielded the passing of the 13th Amendment, which made slavery illegal in all states. If reading vintage documents sounds like a snooze, see if your local bookstore will let you hold a killer, BYOB Power Point presentation. Still not your jam? Then watch Lincoln on Netflix--you'll thank us for Sally Field alone.

Go see Wonder Woman--again

DC Comics' preeminent female superhero may have gained her popularity while strutting around in a two-piece reminiscent of our nation's flag, but it's feminism--not patriotism--that serves as the blood-pump of this widely-acclaimed reboot. Helmed by a woman (Monster director Patty Jenkins) and starring the alternately ass-kicking and emasculating Gal Gadot, this queer-friendly blockbuster is the perfect pop-art counterpoint to the male-dominated realms of both Hollywood and Trump's America. What's more, if there's anyone who needs to be whipped by a lasso of truth, it's the current administration.

Extend Pride

June is ending, but what's four more days? We know you still haven't bothered to pack up your Pride regalia yet, so steam-clean it, text your favorite sis, and hell, fashion a makeshift float from the glittery debris still left behind by the street cleaners. There's no rulebook for July 4th. There are ways to love yourself without feeling guilt about loving your country. And there's no reason you should limit your color palette to red, white and blue. Go ahead and keep waving that rainbow flag. Add brown and black stripes if it suits you. Think your looks won't be on point? You'll be a walking firework, hunny.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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R. Kurt Osenlund