6:55 AM ET

The drive home is beautiful. The small New England towns with drystone walls and 17th century monoliths are located along the way. Today you notice the beauty more because the trees are not bare. The sun is shining. The people are leaving. Summer is here.

You can't help but think about the drive and how long it is. You can see the preparations for the Fourth of July through the towns and villages of Massachusetts. The Betsy Ross flag is on one side of the main drag. Your mind goes back to family. When you tell your son that your parents rushed to the bank to cash their paychecks before the holiday weekend, he will laugh and call you a dinosaur. The Fourth of July used to fall on a Monday and there was an urgent need to make sure there was enough booze for the barbecue because liquor stores were closed on Sunday.

It was the best day of the year. Everything was focused on family. It was even better than Christmas because the whole family showed up. Even though you almost drowned in the pool at one uncle's house, you still went to the barbecue. All the family members. The older ones who brought the cherry bombs and bottle rockets were the ones who were content with a strip of fireworks. There is a fireworks display at the Esplanade in Boston. Football touch games. The math makes you remember how young everyone was. Your child was in preschool when you were 40. You were a freshman in college when your mom turned 40.

You are looking out the window The towns move on and the memories stay the same. Don't pay attention to them. Your mother is no longer alive. A long dead person. It's fifteen years now. Your father is breathing, but he is dead. In the past, has not been a presence. A small family is getting older. Don't look at the future. The road has something to show you. What has happened to the memories? The Fourth is upon us. Take a look at what it has become.


There was no party in one year. You have no recollection of why. There is no family left. There was no BBQ. By that time, you had learned how to swim. The year was 1983 You don't remember much about that day, the only thing you remember is sitting in your room and watching tv. the yankees The channel is called 38. The two men on the call are Ned Martin and Bob Montgomery. Dave Righetti pitched a no-hitter. Wade Boggs hit the ball to end it. If black-and-white TVs and a world before direct deposit feel ancient, you smile at the memory of Righetti throwing a nine-inning no-hitter.

Major League Baseball and its partners released Independence Day-themed baseball hats last month. There is a flush of stars across the front against a blue and white backdrop. Even though the Canadian flag does not contain stars or the color blue, the Toronto BlueJays were given caps. The Toronto caps were changed after public outrage. The USA-themed socks, the marketing, the freedom-inspired spikes, gloves, wristbands, the inevitable paeans to the armed forces are next.

All of us are numb to the spectacle. The emphasis on the Fourth of July shifted from being a family event to being a symbol. It has been two decades of paid patriotism that has made it hard to connect with your aunts and uncles. 20 years of military tribute and unquestioned nationalism made backyard barbecues and badminton games useless. You remember Righetti. There wasn't anything about patriotism on July 4, 1983. The day 39 years ago was baseball. The temperature was ninety four degrees. TheYankees and theRedSox Every other day, the Stadium looked the same. The crowd came because it was July 4, a great day for baseball and family, as well as Bat Day and Yankee Cap Day. The Yankees were the most resistant to a brilliant piece of marketing in the past. Fans were not allowed to wear Yankees caps in the 1950's. The general manager of the Yankees thought a million New York kids wearing the team cap cheapened the brand. The hats were part of a professional uniform. They were for people who played.

Grilling, baseball and fireworks were replaced by symbols. The month of July falls in the middle of destruction. Independence Day in America is under attack. People are reeling from everything from Miranda rights to the separation of church and state. The legal baselines of two generations of Americans have been seen by the Supreme Court. Millions of women don't feel free and are not celebrating independence. It is true that the power of choice and the right to privacy has been taken from all of them, but it is also true that the people who can become pregnant from the victory of their position can do so.

You look at the flag for a second time. It was your favorite version of the American flag as a kid because the 13 stars in a circle reminded you of a cartoon. The 13 circular stars were associated with sports by you as an adolescent. You can see how the flag has been co-opted by white nationalist groups as you get older.

"schoolhouse rock!" During a time of Congressional concern in the early 1970s, a cartoon short was created to balance educational and cartoon components. The basic tenets of the American democracy were the subject of a famous cartoon created by ABC. Basic civics are meaningless today.

The attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

You watch TV even though you swore not to. It was not a decision made from the perch of elegant privilege, of too rich to care, but from a full dissidence -- a weariness of the gaslighting and false equivalencies, the what aboutisms, the goalposts that have defined the past several years. The spectacle of all-white juries acquitting guilty white killers of Black people largely predated your birth, and thus for the past 18 months you've held on to a truth.

You said you wouldn't watch, but you are an American, so you watch. The images of police barricades being knocked down, of Americans climbing through windows trying to break into the U.S. Capitol, and of police running from Americans are what you remember. Think about the people who have chased them over the years, the ones who always told your people to obey, and the ones who would call someone anti-American. Imagine if Black people did that. All falls apart. We are post- hypocrisy. The equivalencies are not up to par. They didn't.

The players who knelt silently over the past decade were called unpatriotic. The boys were called sons. Fans who paid to watch their abilities. By the president of the US. For it, they lost their careers. They were swapped for something else. The protest by Colin Kaepernick and others was called stupid and disrespectful by a Supreme Court Justice. The Black players were the focus of a lot of news stories. CC Sabathia, as a Yankees pitcher, tried to explain the Black communities and their tense relationships with police after one of his white teammates asked of Black suspects, "Why don't they just obey?" You think about John Mara, a co-owner of the New York Giants, and Steve Bisciotti, majority owner of the Baltimore Ravens, who both said that the majority of their fan bases wouldn't accept a kneeling player. The crime was too far away. Neither of them dared to let Kaepernick try out as a backup, even after several productive conversations between Harbaugh and the quarterback. They said the right things, but their actions, along with the other owners, told a different tale.

You always wondered how the players would react when they heard about the Capitol storming and the riot that resulted in the death of a police officer.

Tony La Russa has so much to say about who is doing what and how they are doing it. La Russa said that the quarterback was just looking for attention. He disrespected the flag. The coach of both the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets and the U.S. National Hockey team said in 2016 that any player who took a knee or made any sign of protest wouldn't. Boomer Esiason criticized Black players for their protest which consisted of a silent gesture. You think of Ray Lewis, who said that if he wanted to play in the NFL, he would have to shut his mouth.

When the barricades were overrun, elected officials of both parties hid under their desks, the cops were killed, and the people who told black people to respect the law did not obey, where was La Russa? The person who believed so much in America was not found. Where was Esiason and Ray Lewis?

They didn't say anything.

Jack Del Rio lit the gas lamp and was fired by the Washington Commanders. He referred to it as adust-up. The anger was there. It's inside. On the social networking site. You understand. The concierge lane and the front door for white America have always been separate rules. This truth was crystalized in January.

You know that what you think is not controversial or speculative is not worthy of an hourlong TV town hall specials. Black people have always lived in this country in service to the US. A majority of whites in America believe that the country is theirs.

When you saw the images of the lone Capitol police officer running from the rioters, how did the players feel? Is it possible that they would react to years of being told to shut up and play. For long periods of time, physical protest is not sustainable. Regardless of the players' feelings, they have turned inward. During a time of rights being taken, the people on the street who have needed allies in the fight, see the juxtaposition clearly.

There are two rules in the United States, never directly articulated but rife with consequence when broken: Beyond what the mainstream deems acceptable, it is forbidden to express humanitarian compassion and concern for the people of Palestine. It's not acceptable to advocate for black people. The former is in violation of the nation's foreign policy and the latter is career threatening due to the fact that any Black athlete that stands up for his people is referred to as "brave"

Kapler directly asked his country to challenge its most powerful symbol. In support of Black people, he opposed guns. He did not lose his job. He's not a bad guy. There are no constant news cycles asking him to explain his position, no president calling him a son of a b---, no whisper campaigns that whenever his managerial term with the Giants ends, he has managed his last big-league baseball team. He shouldn't have done that. He made a statement and continued to live.

It's the difference after more than 50 years in this land. The alarm will always ring for those who have forgotten, because black people have known it for a long time. The American dream is something you participate in. They can trash the Capitol if they want because it's theirs. They came here to improve their lives. The laws were put in place to protect them.

What do you think? You were hired to work here.

Colin Kaepernick, right, and then-teammate Eric Reed kneel during the national anthem prior to the 49ers' game on Sept. 12, 2016, in Santa Clara, California. Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

On June 24, 2022, the day after the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the Supreme Court ended legal, federally protected reproductive choice, and the same week the ClevelandBrowns quarterback settled sexual misconduct lawsuits with 20 of 24 women.

Some prominent male athletes offered public support, but you think about the players, the teams, the games, and all of the performative nature of support. The idea that the abortion option did not affect men is incorrect. You think of the hideous mendacity of it all and the fact that it saved the futures of many men. There were continuing careers. There were dreams that were not stopped. Privacies were kept in good working order. You think about the huge gap between the fashionable statements and the fact that the adversaries profit from saying the right things. While you ponder another example of gaslighting in this country, it reminds you of USA Today columnist Nancy Armour's piercing question the day Dobbs replaced the abortion law.

The race, class and gender are related. The third rails of American life can't be separated. When a lot of the girl dads were in the stands and the press boxes, they gaslit their girls because they didn't want to wear a mask or be vaccine free. They would insultly say that their body was their choice. The term of empowerment that was part of the pro-choice movement became a cry for people who couldn't bear the thought of wearing a mask.

Sports support Pride month. Corporate sponsors like that. They can sell hats with their team's logo. They are able to discuss inclusion. They can hire people who will tell the world that institutions are committed to everyone, and you can see another gas lamp lit for the billionaires who sign the checks and hire the inclusion people to the big jobs. His employer, like so many of them, is actually the one who protested. Charles B. Johnson has maxed out his contributions to far-right causes and contributes money that supports the candidate and enables the Court, which has telegraphed the coming assault on Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell The owner of the team that fined Jack Del Rio $100,000 for his comments about the Jan. 6 riot gave $1 million to Donald Trump's inaugural committee.

There will be hats for sale at the baseball stadium. There is spray paint on the field. Is it also online? There are some words that are used in the title of the book.

It's possible to stop drifting now. You are here. Go into the driveway. It's home. For a moment, you are not sure what that word means, but you are certain that it is.