You feeling patriotic today? I bet you are. You’re gonna’ pop some cold ones and light some fireworks tonight, aren’t you? God bless you, you liberty loving maniac.
But before you light those thunderbombs, stick those sparklers in Junior’s hand, and crack your ice cold Springsteens, I need you to run a quick freedom errand for me.
What? It's a holiday? Your day off? I know. You’ve got cookouts to get to, Frisbees to toss, people to elbow for a spot close to the Pops on the Esplanade. It’s an important day, and you love your country, so I won’t keep you.
Two years ago I sucker punched Uncle Sam in the nuts and now every month I get to go to a government probation office in Brooklyn and let him know where I am.
During these visits I’ve overheard some things, Murica, drunk uncle things, Russian things, Communist things you would find some insufficiently incentivized civil servant doing in Dostoevsky, Solzhenitsyn, or Tolstoy.
So, Murica, Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, this is where you come in.
The Pew Center on the states found that in America’s urban areas (that’s code for not you and me, Murica) as many as one in four men and women are under correctional control, mostly probation for nonviolent drug and property crimes like mine. Here in New York City, though weed was decriminalized in 1977, young men are still getting arrested for it at shocking rates.
Many have been put on probation, and this means that they cannot leave the city to visit their families, travel to the Bean for a verbatim reading of the Conny at Faneuil Hall, or work a concession stand on the Jersey Shore. It means that they are trapped in the shadow of Lady Liberty’s mold-green armpit, unable to get away from her fetid hot trash stench all summer long for committing this and other petty crimes that you and me committed no problem in a Nation of Laws, Not Men.
How many times did you carry weed without getting stopped in the burbs, Murica? How many times did you ride dirtbikes or ATVs on a public street, take the ‘rents car for a joyride, steal nips from the neighbors, or drink beers around a campfire in the woods? There won’t be enough fireworks in the sky at sundown to cover all of the Jujubes and Merit Ultra Lights me and my friends got away with stealing. How about you, Murica?
So while your kindred, mirror image offenders in America’s cities are stuck at home this weekend, and every weekend, can’t travel, can’t go nowhere for the 4th, can’t do shit because a bunch of self-flagellating Ivan Ilyich bureaucrats refuse to pull their heads out of their asses and open a national best practices manual, don’t you light one firework, or crack one Budweiser, until you do them this favor.
Get on your computer, open up your Gmail, huckle at whatever cute Red White and Waves of Grain thing they’ve got on there today, and send your local government officials—state reps, senators, governors, and probation commissioners—freedom emails.
As the rockets red glare and the bombs burst in air, tell ‘em to knock it off with this wannabe Soviet Union Cold War crap. Tell ‘em that taking away the liberty of kids that are getting busted for the same petty crimes you and me committed no problem in the suburbs is an abomination of Equal Protection, Justice for All, and every other awesome as hell thing this country stands for on this special day.
You send Uncle Sam that message today, Murica, then by all means soar like a Bald Eagle on over to your cookout with a case of beer in one talon and a bag of marinated steak tips in the other, because you’ve done your country proud. If you can’t do that for Lady Liberty today, stick your lighter back in your pocket, put your beers back in the fridge, and go home and finish embroidering U.S.S.R. on your Stalin dolls because you are a Communist sissy and you don't deserve no Freedom Fries.