This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s website and was revised for the 2010s:

Your Fourth of July is invasions and wars.

My Fourth of July is the pure sunbeam of peace.

Yours is the Confederate flag and nostalgia for the hierarchies of slavery.

Mine is ‘all men are created equal.’

Yours is kowtowing to billionaires in Las Vegas and disregard of public opinion.


Mine is “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”

Yours is profiling and discrimination.

Mine is “all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.”

Yours is “My country right or wrong.”

Mine is avoiding “Offences against the Law of Nations”

Yours is the repeal of universal health care and rejection of Kyoto,

Mine is an America that cares about the wellbeing of our children.

Yours is politicians above the law.

Mine is, with Tom Paine, “in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other.”

Yours is drone attacks in countries against which we are not at war.

Mine is “and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.”

Yours is NSA surveillance of millions of innocents

Mine is the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Yours is poverty wages and union-busting.

Mine is “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Yours is off-shore drilling, coddling polluters and ‘all of the above energy”

Mine is a stewardship of America the beautiful for succeeding generations.

Yours is the privatization of war and the deployment of whole divisions of “contractors. . .”

Mine is an America where privates do not risk their lives for a tenth of what a mercenary is paid by the Pentagon.

Yours is the criminalization of the people’s protests.

Mine is, “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Yours is over 800 military bases around the globe.

Mine is America, the pure sunbeam of peace.

With apologies to Kahlil Gibran.

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