everyone loves a parade

Yesterday, I went to Ypsilantis annual Fourth of July parade. (Im told its one of the longest-running in Michigan.) As usual, I wasnt disappointed Its unclear to me as to whether or not there is any oversight as what constitutes a parade-worthy entry. Yesterday, I believe I saw a man in a convertible yelling about a 70% off on carpet remnants sale. Another group drove by in their familys Mack truck, blowing their massive air horn every time they advanced five feet. Between these entries, there were old ladies in red pantyhose doing Jazzercise behind a van that was playing Pinks Im Coming Up, black Shriners, their knees pressed against their chests, in their little red cars, and old farmers proudly atop their newly washed John Deere tractors This is one of the good things about small town America.

Of course, there was also a lot of rampant flag waving (which didnt bother me much until recently), military fetishism, and religious fervor. Here are some of my photos.

I don’t know if you can see it in the photo, but the guy on top of the SWAT truck has a sniper’s rifle set up. I thought that was a bit odd. Here he was, smiling and waving at kids, but within a few seconds he could be emptying rounds into the head of a criminal. (Im not demonizing SWAT teams. They serve a purpose. But something doesnt feel right to me when theres a SWAT van following a float with the Powerpuff Girls on it.) I also got an uncomfortable feeling when I saw the truckload of children advertised as “God’s Army.” That, to me, seemed very Iraqish. Oh, and “Vigilance is the Key” was pretty good too. Considering the climate in America today, I was expecting things to be much freakier I was expecting to see an image of Bush straddling the rubble of the World Trade Center Towers, shaking his giant fist at the Osama bin Ladens and Saddam Husseins of the world. Instead, we just got a few floats that spoke of Vigilance and Freedom. Maybe next year theyll come right out and say Watch Your Neighbors. Vigilance, I think, is too abstract.

Its also strange, I thought, that after it was all over with, there were discarded American flags on the ground. Im not sure what to make of that. Theres probably some deep sociological statement that could be made, but Im too hot to think of such things.

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