Currents

The Saddest Fourth Of July, An Essay

July 4, 2020
Brian Tarcy
Written by Brian Tarcy

Happy Fourth Of July. Right?

This year, America’s 244th birthday, is clearly different in so many ways.



In fact, this year the holiday feels more like sad. Not hot dogs and hamburgers on-the-grill joyful, or fireworks-in-the-sky celebratory, but 130,000-deaths-and-counting sad. A house-divided sad. 

The Fourth Of July has always seemed to be the perfect holiday, with the very best of intentions. The day has always seemed a celebration of the words “all men are created equal.”

Of course, we all now know that the men who wrote and signed the document containing those words didn’t believe the literal sentiment. Still, that ideal was what we were celebrating, or so we always thought.

But now, as the nation enters its 245th year, there will be few official, legal fireworks, and none on the Cape. On the other hand, this year has been nothing but fireworks seeming to explode not in the sky, but all over our lives. 

There is a kind of dark cloud hanging over America.  A disease, if you will. We are immersed in it. We are of it. It defines us now, like it or not.


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The symptom wears a long red tie and demands that we not look at the man behind the curtain. But the disease, beyond the very public symptom, is bubbling up all over. 

And while in fiction, the great and powerful Oz was revealed to be a fraud behind the curtain, the wearer of long red tie is believed by many, even as its wearer stakes his ground on honoring Confederate generals. inventing his own alternative-facts-based reality, and befriending dictators.

It is beyond bizarre, but at this point it is also completely unsurprising.

The entire idea of the long red tie running for president seemed based on the idea of erasing the legacy of Barack Obama. There has been mixed success but the thing that has been most successful is perhaps the saddest.

In perhaps Obama’s greatest speech, in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention, he said, “There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America, there’s the United States of America.”

But now with three years of effort, that sentiment is being held up as some sort of fake news. 

The idea was E Pluribus Unum, out of many, one.

Our reality is now the chaos of E Pluribus Pluribus.

Although it often feels like E Pluribus Duo – out of many, two.

Us and them. We are being intentionally divided.

And divisiveness for some perceived political gain is pretty perverse.

First Amendment

The media is not the enemy of the people.

Anyway, as you most likely know, the wearer of the long red tie has deemed the media to be “the enemy of the people.”

That’s not how we see it. Of course we also thought there is not a liberal America or a conservative America, but the United States of America.

We hope this essay doesn’t now make us “far left fascists,” a new name for some Americans bestowed by the wearer of the long red tie. But anything is possible in this up-is-down world, even calling 130,000 deaths a great success.

Of course, here in Massachusetts we have been successful in slowing the rate of infections and death. There was even a recent day when nobody in Massachusetts died of Covid-19. 

So while it seems like a victory, there are already signs this summer that rules are not always being followed on the Cape. 

This is no time for a victory lap.



Ask Florida how well their victory lap has gone.

Even with it all, we wish you have a happy Independence Day. Above all, stay safe. After all, it’s tough to be independent on a ventilator.

At some point, our long national nightmare will be over. And then, hopefully, we can make America whole again.

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You Can't Sell Right Field

–PLEASE SEE You Can’t Sell Right Field,  a novel from Cape Cod Wave…. about a huge piece of land for sale, a crooked developer, a softball team named The Townies, and an election. Based on the true story (the developer went to jail) of a large Cape Cod development from the early 1990s, and Cape Cod softball.

About the author

Brian Tarcy

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.
For more information, see Briantarcy.com
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 Whatsgonnahappen.com.

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