Happy? Fourth Of July – An Essay

Written by Brian Tarcy

Here’s to another 248 years of fun.

Happy Fourth of July. Happy Independence Day. Happy birthday, America.

Happy. Right?

The Fourth of July has always been my favorite holiday. For me, the Fourth of July is the Christmas of holidays. It has been a magical day for as long as I can remember.

Perfect weather mixed with early summer optimism and cooked meat, followed by colorful nighttime explosions celebrated on some level that we are at peace with each other. These were always the traditional ingredients of the best day of the year. It was a day of: We, the people. We, the revelers.

We all generally got along. As Woody Guthrie sang, “This land is your land. This land is my land… This land belongs to you and me”

Every year in early July, the country has celebrated the birth of the United States of America with an emphasis on the word, United. We had our differences, sure. But, we always seemed to unite and say, look at those fireworks!

This year? Fireworks are what news channels talk about happening between candidates. United is just a nice word yawned over in the midst of bombast, in which everything is political.

We Americans are now simply tribal, and the national politics of meanness has gone local in many places.

The good news here on Cape Cod is that, well, we are here on Cape Cod.

While we certainly have gotten despicable whiffs of the blood sport name-calling version of red hat politics that has infected much of the country, it does seem different here. Those bridges over the canal, old as they are, still do a fantastic job of separating here from there.

And here, the truth counts. At least we hope so.

Still, this is a different kind of American birthday, mostly because of the harrowing next few months we Americans now face. And sadly, we seem to be being gaslighted in all directions.

Donald Trump wants us to not believe what our own eyes saw on January 6, 2021 (and during Covid, and, heck, his entire Presidency), while Joe Biden wants us to not believe our own eyes about his age and capacities after the recent debate.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Joe Biden. He is the best president of my lifetime by far. Just the fact that he got the infrastructure bill passed, when no other president could, is amazing. He’s done a lot of great things as president. But, well…

During the debate, I saw what you saw. Grandpa may not be up for this.

Still, Trump’s age shows differently as he rambles nonsense endlessly, stuff about sharks and then shower water pressure, a love affair with Kim Jong Un and whatever else enters his addled mind.

While Biden has been a great president, his physical condition, and clear occasional mental lapses, give anyone with eyes a reason to question his path forward. And Trump, well, his intentions are disturbingly clear and he’s also older and diminished.

These are the choices our supposedly wonderful system of government have given us.

So yeah, happy birthday America. Right?

Happy is right, right?

We hold these truths to be self evident. Right?

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Cape Cod Wave Magazine covers the character & culture of Cape Cod. Please see our Longform stories.

About the author

Brian Tarcy

Brian Tarcy is co-founder of Cape Cod Wave. He is a longtime journalist who has written for the Boston Globe, Boston magazine, the Cape Cod Times and several other publications. He is the author of "YOU CAN'T SELL RIGHT FIELD; A Cape Cod Novel." He is also the author or co-author of more than a dozen mostly non-fiction books, including books with celebrity athletes Cam Neely, Tom Glavine and Joe Theisman. His previous book was, "ALMOST: 12 Electric Months Chasing A Silicon Valley Dream" with Hap Klopp,who created the iconic brand, The North Face.
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Brian is a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan with a long-running NFL predictions/political satire column connecting weekly world events to the fate of his favorite team, now at

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