Not entirely baseball content warning.
Some things to remember on the 4th of July:
1. Do not drink warm beer.
2. Do not sing "God Save the Queen" to the tune of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee." Though if you can pull off singing the Sex Pistols version of GSTQ to that tune, we'll give it to you. Otherwise, no.
3. I have a lot of contact with US military personnel and their families. Whatever you think of the recent and current wars, the leaders that got us in them, and/or have not gotten us out of them, remember these families. Forget the trite and facile "support the troops", remember this: a very, very small percentage of American families are bearing the WHOLE burden of these wars. Let's think about what the best ways would be to make that up to them, little as anything we can do is compared to the sacrifices they are making.
4. Remember that baseball is our national pastime. I like watching football and sometimes basketball, used to watch hockey as a kid, my grandfather taught me how to watch boxing and Muhammad Ali was my boyhood idol, but all of these erode character and baseball builds character. When character is lacking in baseball, it is because something external to it has intruded into baseball to erode character.
5. Remember that the key thing about the verse of "America the Beautiful" about our "Alabaster cities gleam" is that they do because they are "undimmed by human tears" - it is an aspiration. Not an accurate description. Yet.
6. Remember that the question at the end of the Star Spangled Banner is NOT "does that star-spangled banner yet wave?" since this has already been answered - "The rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night, that our flag was still there" - the question is, what does it wave over ?
7. Remember that the only thing that distinguishes us from Ancient Rome, really, is that we abolished slavery. They never did. They had a big army, they were a superpower, they were rich, they had a big entertainment industry, they had a lot of immigration, they were multicultural, they were Christians, whatever you like. They did not abolish slavery. We did. It matters.
8. Remember that when all is said and done, when our own civilization is the site of curious tourists climbing through our ruins or reading our old documents, only a few things will stand out about us:
The Declaration of Independence
A Constitution that is a living document you can amend
Our popular music - no other civilization had anything like our music - Greek theater, Elizabethan Theater, and Renaissance Art come closest. I will still take Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Motown, Gospel, Bluegrass, and Country and Western any day over anything else except Aeschylus and Shakespeare. And throw in Bob Dylan and you are pretty close to a tie even with those two.
And remember that our popular music was only possible because we abolished slavery. Otherwise it would have remained in the slave quarters.
9. Remember that the pilgrims wanted to found a "City on a Hill" by which they meant an example to other countries. A president later changed this phrase famously to "A Shining City on a Hill" - I think he confused America with Hollywood. The puritans were not big on shiny things. Just profound things.
10. Remember that the 4th of July is the All-Star break. Mid-year and mid-season are the same thing.
11. Remember to drink cold beer.
12. Remember that in the country I live in now, which is far from the most unenlightened, or the most backward, or the most undemocratic, the son of an immigrant from Africa most likely can carry groceries to people's cars for spare change, or sell things in the piazzas till the cops come to tell him to move along. In the United States, whether you voted for him or like him or not, the son of an African immigrant is President of the most powerful country in the world.
14. Remember the wisdom of Bruce Willis in "Live Free or Die Hard" when the computer whiz kid says "I thought it would be cool to bring down the system", Willis' John McClain character replies "It's not a system, it's a country." America is not the free market system, it is not capitalism, it is not globalization, multiculturalism or any other system, none of which are delineated in the Constitution. It is a country. Full of people. If you want to be loyal to something, be loyal to the people, not an abstraction.
15. Play Ball.
16. Did I mention cold beer ? Goes well with barbecue. Not so much with pudding or crumpets, whatever those are. I mean you have to remember what American Independence is all about.