My husband and I watched the fireworks from across the street at the postage stamp-sized tribal property. The parking lot was filled with those who bought fireworks to light off, and employees of the smoke shop/bar and grill. There were some lovely displays of colors shot into the cloudy nighttime skies, with an orderly crowd of spectators who reside inside and outside of our neighborhood.
While sitting in our lawns chairs wrapped in blankets and sipping on rum and Cokes, something really odd occurred to me. The Native Americans can sell and shoot off fireworks, but no one else in our city can. Because they are a nation separate and apart from the United States, they are allowed to write their own laws which govern their community. And seeing as though Native Americans were the first oppressed race in America that are now celebrating the way we used to celebrate felt kind of surreal. We will be cited if we're spotted setting off any type of firework. With us being only feet from reservation land, it's really, really weird.
Don't get me wrong as I'm not saying that as a nation the Native Americans shouldn't be able to celebrate July 4th, but it's somewhat disconcerting that no one else in our city can celebrate the way we used to: With fireworks! Yes, I know they can be dangerous, but we were perfectly fine losing a finger or two at the cost of a truly spectacular pyrotechnic display. (LOL)
Sometimes the powers-that-be can over-emphasize safety over tradition. I remember when my Father would buy the BIGGEST box of fireworks in the neighborhood, and then shoot them off for everyone to see. Nothing burned down, no one was hurt. Maybe we were lucky? Nonetheless, it was an important part of our July 4th celebration. Our own city didn't put on a fireworks display. What the hell's going on? Yet again, another example of the Graying of America.
Hopefully our officials will let up on some of the restrictions which limit our use of fireworks (i.e., reduce the height of aerial displays, allow ground displays, etc.). We can't lose EVERYTHING which makes us "us." Our customs are being lost to practicality. Can you be reasonable and still enjoy life to its fullest?
I shouldn't have to be live vicariously from my lawn chair.
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