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July 4, 2022

Why did I really not feel like celebrating on the Fourth this year?

This is the first time in my life I’ve not done *SOMETHING* to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Honestly, there’s a few reasons for that.

First of all, I was tired. It was a rainy weekend here in Florida, I knew the beaches would be bedeviled by families and tourists looking to enjoy the blue water, and I knew that would be frustrating. AND, I knew that my puppy would be scared and upset at home alone. She is terrified of fireworks, and the town I live in is apparently like locally famous for its Fourth of July fireworks show? Which to be frank, I find it a little weird that a town that is heavily retired military would be so into fireworks- because PTSD??? My dad says fireworks make him feel like he’s in “f-cking Fallujah” so I’d love to know what the idea is with this? It feels weird to me idk.

I said this exact thing to my parents just a few minutes before posting this- my dad said: "Oh! I can answer this! It's because it's mostly Air Force and they've never been shot at!"

HILARIOUS. Do not get butt hurt over that, that's normal branch-to-branch heckling. And it was good.

Secondly, though, whose Independence are we celebrating? I get it, I get it- America’s independence from England. Duh. Yeah that’s exciting- but what about the Indigenous people whose land our ancestors stole, what about the enslaved Africans who physically built this country, what about the indentured Irish and the outcast Jews whose cultural, physical and financial contributions cannot be ignored? What about the women of all colors and classes whose role in building, defending and running this country has long been undercut?

And still, even today as we refuse to acknowledge the contributions of those women- our government refuses to acknowledge the personhood of the women who are alive and contributing in the present? As our “Supreme Court”- a body that was designed to exist outside of politics- has begun blatantly ignoring the humanity of more than half of the nation it is deemed to serve… who’s independence are we celebrating again?

I want to be clear- I will always honor, celebrate, remember those who sacrifice their time, their bodies, their families and their lives in the hope of freedom. I was raised by the ultimate warrior-poet, and not those weird-ass YouTubers who like to call themselves that either. I was raised by a soldier, a servant leader, a pacifist, who taught me the meaning of nuance and of sacrifice. Who taught me that he fights for my right to be my own person,

Why, then, are so many people who calls themselves “patriots” celebrating half the nation’s loss of their basic human right to control their own body? I, me, Alanna Grayce Campbell- I now have fewer rights than a corpse. A dead body.

Do we not see the slippery slope that this is? Roe v. Wade, ultimately, is not about abortion or about “killing babies”- Roe v. Wade is a precedent set on privacy. Who doesn’t want the basic right to privacy? If you thought “being forced” to wear a mask was bad- imagine not having any rights to your own body. Imagine: you decide not to have kids. You want to ensure that decision without the possibility of abortion or accidents. So you go to your doctor and request to be “fixed”.

Every man I’ve ever known or heard an account from has never been questioned. Every man I’ve ever known or heard an account from has been able to receive a vasectomy quickly and easily, with no question and with no “signing off” by his wife.

Every woman I’ve known or heard an account from- who was making this decision without significant medical reasoning and just for personal preference- has been questioned. Has been questioned regarding her hypothetical future husband’s potential future desire for children (whether or not she was interested in or in a relationship with a man); has been required to wait until a certain age or have her husband sign off.

This is a question of power and bodily autonomy. For anybody- not just women. This opens a can of worms.

Do you want to be required to give someone a kidney? To donate your organs? (I think it’s dumb not to donate organs but I’m not about to tell anybody they’re REQUIRED to.) Do you want to be required to exist if you don’t want to?

Furthermore- thanks to Justice Clarence Thomas’ dissent, this ultimately can bring into question the right to sexual activity in ones’ own home. Do you want the police to have the power to barge into your home and arrest you because they supposedly saw you doing something they deem as illegal?

This is not about the desire to “murder the unborn”. The easiest group to advocate for; the least likely to ask for your help, to ask for money or to ask for votes. This is about the desire to basic human rights, and to bodies that we get to govern ourselves. Isn’t that what everyone wants?

So, for that reason- I wasn’t super in the typical Fourth of July mood this year. Because America doesn’t feel like America should, and because Americans seem to have forgotten that freedom means for everybody.

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