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A Radical 4th of July Reading List



It's easy for me to love my country, but it's hard for me to be proud of my country.

The word "patriotism" now makes me cringe. The 4th of July isn't making me want to celebrate our founders or listen to ridiculous songs like Celine Dion's version of America the Beautiful or eat a red, white, and blue cake like our ancestors wanted. I want to crawl under a blanket and wait for this tsunami of pain and embarrassment to end.

That being said, here are some books to read, some of which understand America as Emma Lazarus captured it in her famous poem "The New Colossus," and some that try to take us a step further:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"




Because America is diverse and because of that, America has some amazing women.




Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts

Because I'm sick of talking about our forefathers.






In the Country We Love by Diane Guerrero

Because our country was founded through immigration. We are a nation of immigrants. We need to keep hearing their stories.







Because our country was also founded by demolishing another nation, and while it is painful to look back or acknowledge complicity in that demolition, we must remember that pain to keep from repeating it.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Because our country is slowly waking up to the idea that one of the sins on which we were founded is still in force today, and that conversation needs to keep happening.





Because...well, obviously.

Comments

  1. Replies
    1. I was looking at past 4th of July posts I've done and just hated them because of how even jokingly jingoistic they were. I usually watch 1776 and Independence Day every year and I CANNOT NOW, so this felt necessary.

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  2. I love love love this post and this list. Also I realize I'm way late on commenting BUT STILL sentiment holds true

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