July 4th is here and it's a good time to think about America.
Let's celebrate our July 4th freedom with a game called, "What Is Going On Right Now in America?"
What freedoms have we gained and lost in this last year?
What has changed in the way we live?
Which changes have we chosen and which have been imposed on us?
Los Angeles seems to be a good reference point on the subject of change in America.
The city of Los Angeles is under massive construction, beginning now with widespread destruction of streets, roads and freeways.
Although the list of daily road closures can be found on the web, there is no headline announcing that all reasonable ease of movement in the city for all practical purposes has been eliminated.
My guess is that it wouldn't be good for tourism to make this an electric point in public.
This explains the many multi-decked "Hollywood" tour buses offering a double treat for all those craving the city of broken dreams.
For the same money, the wreckage of demolished streets!
Now that's a deal.
Obviously, these city works have been in the works for years, but perhaps behind closed business doors where power brokers plan the city and thus decide for us all exactly what kind of town we live in.
Is America being designed and power-brokered this way, beyond the view of American citizens?
For Los Angeles, this is a time when people are arranging not to leave home beyond when it is strictly necessary.
The point is to avoid the mess, filth and chaos of road-drilling traffic jams, which is everywhere.
Doesn't this scenario have a slight flavor of American post-9/11 agoraphobia?
You might be asking, how does staying in the 'hood, i.e. symbolically west/east of Sepulveda, color the way we feel about being alive?
And what does this have to do with July 4th?
We can connect some dots from the tear down and rebuilding of Los Angeles to the dismantling and renovation of America itself.
Changes in American society are occurring constantly.
One quick example is the computerization of friendship.
I don't remember public debates on this total change of social lifestyle.
If there had been a discussion, I imagine many of us would have said, "fuhgettaboutit," or as they used to say in the prehistoric Old Country, "feh" on that".
Now back to the July 4th game of questions.
Without putting too paranoid a spin on it, is America being destroyed and re-imagined by a handful of so-called "patriots" while the masses celebrate July 4th with beer and barbeque?
In what ways can we see this?
To reiterate, we in Los Angeles can see that we are enduring a marathon construction season. There are orange road work cones and signs everywhere.
This is a physical bear trap we Lost Angels traverse in our battered, fancy tin cans, bumper to bumper, up and over ribbons of broken highways and potaholic roads.
What if America itself is under profound renovation, the systems of our lifestyle being ripped apart and replaced with a new future?
What if we are living through the chaos of a constitutional, national renovation, while personally distracted and without the benefit of obvious signposts to spell this out for us?
This is the start of what I hope will be a July 4th conversation.
Yes, I am suggesting that the physical ripping apart of L.A. to build a questionable future city stands, albeit unsteadily, as the metaphor for what is happening to America right now.
America is under construction. We have the freedom and the right to notice it and ask about it.
Is there a better way to celebrate July 4th?