The 4th of July and Other Downs1At the time, kiddies, "red" meant "Communist."
The Day dawns again and it's time to love freedom. All the fascists come out to play and long hair and peace are decidedly un-American. Keep muttering things like "My country, right or wrong" and "America, love it or leave it" and you're really in. Middle-class America is out in force to celebrate liberty. Don't look now, but there's a knife in your back. A car goes by covered with flags, streamers, bunting, decals, and assorted other paraphernalia vital to your well-equipped American. Off we go to a fireworks show whose rockets sounded just like mortar fire. (Everything about the Fourth is so appropriate.) A motorcycle cop chomps away on something or other and glares at us with hatred that should have melted his shades as he leans on his bike and tries to figure a way to bust us. Red, white, and blue are the colors of the day, but be careful you don't have more red than blue1 or you might get lynched in the name of freedom. (You can have as much blue as you want, but the whiter you are, the better off you'll be.) Don't look now, but all the flagpoles look like spears. All in honor of the 36,000 brave boys2 who've given their lives to bring freedom, truth, beauty, and President Thieu3 to the South Vietnamese. Three cheers for Richard Nixon and six for J. Edgar Hoover, and better dead than red. The officially sanctioned day of national paranoia has come again, and all is right with the Pentagon.
2Another 14,000 died before it was over.
3Dictator of South Vietnam was more like it.