Happy 4th And Happy Birthday To Ray Angry

Growing up, I never put my hand over my heart when my class was instructed to rise for the pledge of allegiance. I always stood up, but I refused to blindly support America’s reliance on one invisible “He” under the guise of patriotism. The entwining of religion, government, and capitalism in the U.S. always felt to me like part hapless attempt to unite us under misguided nationalism, part self-fulfilling dystopian prophecy. Followers of ancient religions who do not question antiquated ideas are more susceptible to wielding faith for the wrong reasons. 

 

This morning, I was listening to one of my all-time favorite albums, Regina Spektor’s 2009 release “Far,” which touches on these topics in both broadly painted and deeply personal manners. A pair of back-to-back songs on the album—“Machine” and “Laughing With”—demonstrate the arc of thought I felt about allegiance, independence, and the 4th of July after almost getting hit by a drunk driver along my walk to Starbucks to write this blog post.

 

"Everything's provided

Consummate consumer

Part of worldly taking

Apart from worldly troubles

Living in your prewar apartment

Soon to be your postwar apartment

And you lived in the future

And the future

It's here

It's bright

It's now,” Regina Spektor sings on the post-apocalyptic ballad “Machine.”

 

Also this morning, I saw Ray Angry’s post on Instagram:

 

 

I don’t know what funny story he was referring to, but Ray's positivity made me think about the little things I have to be thankful for despite the constant looming dread in this country. And I felt more like Regina Spektor on “Laughing With”:

 

"But God can be funny

At a cocktail party when listening to a good God-themed joke, or

Or when the crazies say He hates us

And they get so red in the head you think they're 'bout to choke

God can be funny

When told he'll give you money if you just pray the right way

And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini

Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus

God can be so hilarious

Ha ha

Ha ha"

 

So cheers to galvanizing spirits like birthday boy Ray Angry who bring people together through artistic entertainment! We celebrate you.

 

Happy Independence Day to all who have the privilege of independence in America— and to all whose human rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" have been violated, but continue to live and laugh in the face of uncertainty, war, and careless consumerism.