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4th of July 2022


by stephen hastings-king


In former times Manchester-by-the-Sea, the next town over, had a parade the morning of the 4th of July that was each time simultaneously a star-spangled, Yankee-Doodle self-parody and unremarkable small-town celebration.

Then came Plague Days & the parade went the way of Saint Peter's Fiesta (which it otherwise in no way resembles).

This morning I went there to get a couple things at the grocery, arriving just after the parade had ended, past police in parade outfits standing near a huge bicycle accident, continuing at a stately slow holiday pace up School Street, signs every few feet announcing "That thing is a water pipe", people still milling about on the sidewalk in groups, many dressed in whole or in part as an American flag, some wearing American-flag sunglasses among flags stuck in lawns and bunting hung from porches: downtown, clouds of kids drifted through parking lots wearing American-flag swimwear American-flag hats American-flag tiaras & everything was suffused with a sense of the barely-contained lunacy, a population acting as if the epidemic is over when that epidemic is not over and overcompensating in their assertions of the normality of former times just after the Leonard Leo Supremes relegated women to the status of livestock.

On my way home I passed another Trump-supporter Klanivan: I flipped them off, but I think that's what they wanted.

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