Tuesday, July 3, 2018


Columbia does parades on the Fourth of July. Take your pick. There’s the Longfellow Parade, the Allview Parade, the River Hill Parade, and, for the first time this year, the Oakland Mills Parade. Standard appearances include people running for office and their supporters, people in patriotic garb, people throwing candy, and so forth.

I can’t remember where I heard this recently, but it really would be nice to have one big parade through the center of town, down Little Patuxent Parkway in Downtown Columbia. But then we’d have to give up our love of our smaller ‘regional’ parades, and I’m  not sure we’d be able to do that. We’re both fiercely territorial and loyal.

While Fourth of July parades are ostensibly about celebrating Independence Day and are meant to have a national, patriotic feel, our local parades seem very much a celebration of our small and beloved communities. Are we really celebrating the ideals our country was founded upon? Do we really think about it? Or do we just go through the seasonal rituals because we have become accustomed to them?

This year’s national mood is one that includes hostility, fear, despair, and a heightened sense of political tribalism. I wonder if that will have any impact on how many people turn out to watch our parades locally. Are we good enough at compartmentalizing our feelings about such things that we will simply do the things we usually do because that is our tradition! Or will some of us get up tomorrow, read the news, and find no reason to go out and celebrate?

What, if anything, will you celebrate tomorrow?

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