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.
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 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
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.