America Is Still Great: 5 Good Things About the U.S. for Fourth of July Weekend

fireworks
Spectators watch Macy's Fourth of July fireworks explode over the East River in New York July 4, 2014. Eric Thayer/Reuters

Don't think about it too much. That's my advice.

Yes, as you read this, the federal government remains a hot tub gurgling a witch's brew of dysfunction and malice. Yes, the president is still tweeting insults at television hosts while his administration works to perhaps suppress voters and leave tens of millions of people without health care. If you are among the majority of Americans, you both: 1) Don't like the job the president is doing and 2) Think the country is going down the tubes.

But, hey, try not to think about that on the Fourth of July.

Related: Tired of Trump news? Here are 4 distractions that definitely, totally, 100 percent work for me

Independence Day, at least as long as I've known it, has never been about taking a measured reflection on freedom in America—how we don't exactly define what being free means or how we protect that freedom or how fragile the whole thing is. No, the Fourth is about red, white and blue and forgetting the things we'd like to forget about our country. Jingoism is a crusty wedding suit in the back of the closet—you put it on every once in a while, and sure, it's a bit stiff at first, but everything loosens up after a couple of Bud Lights.

America is still great. Or, at the very least, we have some great things. I wrote down a few. Don't think about the bad things. Think about these things.

1. Hot dogs

A quick story: Last weekend, I enjoyed a couple mugs of beer at McSorley's Old Ale House, the oldest bar in New York City. (Sidebar: It's an amazing place crawling with history and you should read Two and Two, in which Rafe Bartholomew details his family's rich tenure at the bar.) Condensing a long night into a few words, my evening ended at a Papaya Dog—an NYC hot dog institution.

That hot dog was perfection. A thin tube of meat, salty and brimming with grease, snapping just-so with each bite. The United States didn't invent the hot dog—as long as animals have existed, human beings have been killing them and then shoving parts of the carcasses into the animals' intestines—but damn if we didn't perfect it. This Fourth of July, maybe have a hot dog—and, if you're really feeling it, hum "America the Beautiful" as you scarf it down. It's up to you.

2. Fried foods

Quick side note: The U.S. has some great food, I could have written like 100 foods into this story, but decided to go with distinctly American foodstuffs. So: fried foods. A quick list of things we've deep-fried here in these United States of America: butter, ice cream, salsa, bubblegum, a scorpion and an entire slice of pizza. This is a good thing, and kindly keep your trash opinions to yourself if you think otherwise.

3. Dogs

"But, Tim," you say—somehow you remember the name of the writer of this post, despite likely stumbling upon it via Google—"nearly every place on Earth has dogs." I say to you: That is true. Counterpoint: We also have dogs, and dogs are amazing.

Take a look at this picture of a patriotic pup and try to tell me there is not at least some sliver of greatness in America this Fourth of July.

Fourth of July plans:

step 1: get a very large dog

step 2: pic.twitter.com/axaQvYH22N

— Tim Marcin (@TimMarcin) June 30, 2017

4. Air conditioning

We invented that. In 1902, Willis Carrier got hot and decided to raise a stiff middle finger to Mother Nature. Oh, you want us to sweat and be uncomfortable? Shut your stupid mouth, Earth, America is here now and we're gonna churn so much ice-cream-cold air into our homes that by the year 2017 any room above 72 degrees will be legally considered a micro-aggression.

Say you're down the shore this Fourth of July weekend: It's the end of the beach day and everything is a bit hazy, the way things tend to get after a few wine coolers in the summer heat. Your skin is taut to your bones, reddened and on the verge of being burnt. You're dehydrated as you slowly turn the key to open the front door. There's a whoosh as the door swoops open and you're overtaken with sweet, chilly air. Everything is perfect. America remains great.

5. Immigrants

Yeah, they're still here. And we're all the better for it.