ActivismPolicingRace, Ethnicity & Culture

4th of July is Cancelled, Maybe it Should Stay That Way

Thoughts on what is worth celebrating

I’ll be honest with you: I think that it’s really difficult, this framing around ‘good cops’ and ‘bad cops.’ Policing, as a system, is incredibly corrupt, period.

Alicia Garza


This is an adaptation of a post I shared to my neighborhood group this morning…

I’ve had some feelers about whether I’m doing my 4th of July BBQ this year, even a small gathering, and I think the answer has to be no. Not just because COVID hasn’t gone anywhere, although that’s a big reason. It also just feels rude to have a party celebrating the USA right now.

4th of July is our neighborhood’s Mardi Gras. We moved here in 2003 on July 3 and the hood had a parade just for us it seems. I’ve taken some of the best photographs of my life out there on Hamilton Avenue. And I’ve been hosting or co-hosting friends and family to watch the parade. I’ve volunteered at the Rock and Roll Carnival and I’ve danced along with the rest of my neighbors in the last entry, the everyone’s invited Northside Danceteria… at least until heatstroke set in. 

But more and more I’m feeling like the 4th of July isn’t worth celebrating. Looking around at the state of our republic, is this something we should be proud of? Is the founding of this nation, a democracy where half the electorate doesn’t vote and less than half of the voters who do show up vote for hateful terrible people with hateful terrible plans, (terrible people who have so polluted our system that they cling to power by their fingernails when they should be losing.)

We live in one of the most diverse and integrated neighborhoods in the Queen City. We work hard to keep our neighborhood’s character in the face of development, recession and expansion. Yet it’s only blind luck it seems that anther one of our friends or neighbors (RIP Bones) hasn’t become the next name on that heartbreaking list that the police around the country keep callously adding too.

Until that changes, until #blacklivesmatter is more than a hashtag, but a reality,  how can we justify a parade through the heart of our neighborhood celebrating the birth of a nation that has failed so badly to live up to it’s promise. A parade with cops monitoring the intersections. A parade led by flashing police cars and circling motorcycles blaring their sirens?

I love my neighborhood, and my neighbors. I have loved our parade. I haven’t missed it the last 16 years. But I can’t celebrate that love if it’s hurting people, or worse putting them in danger.

Covid-19 has done the job for us this year, the parties are cancelled and it’s still out there ready to pounce so let’s not let our guard down. Maybe we should consider letting it go. Find another weekend, another anniversary to commemorate.

At least until the US of A proves they deserve the honor.

Featured Image: Flags, Northside 4th of July Parade, by Lou Doench Blotz Photo Arts

Louis Doench

Lou Doench is a 52 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at

Related Articles

Leave a Reply