Happy Independence Day!

Like most little Alaskan bush communities, we celebrate the Fourth of July with great gusto. We’ve got creative floats in a community parade (and since our parade line is rather small, all the floats circle around and parade through downtown a second time); we get jiggy with tacky red-white-and-blue apparel/decor; and, of course, since this is Alaska, we drink a fifth to celebrate the Fourth. So, we’ve got plenty of the traditional flag waving enthusiasm, but McCarthy has a disproportionate amount of free-spirited, open-minded folk, and there’s enough of a hippie influence out here that being patriotic doesn’t mean being a hater — quite the opposite, in fact.

As a general rule, residents of McCarthy town tend to avoid the kind of toxic arguments that characterize most political discourse in America, but recent years have seen a bit of creative activism. We had a spontaneous, uncoordinated PRIDE theme last year, in response to Trump’s belligerent rhetoric during his first year in office, and this year a few folks decided to use the Independence Day Parade to draw attention to the plight of immigrant border children separated from their families.

So I feel a touch optimistic, in the aftermath of our Independence Day celebration.

Ice Cream McCarthy Fourth of July parade
Manager of the General Store (aka the ice cream shop), decked out for the parade as (what else?) an ice cream man
Border Justice 2018 McCarthy Fourth of July parade
Walking through the parade, to bring awareness to the issue of Border Justice
McCarthy Alaska Fourth of July Parade Immigration Border Justice
Booth set up to write postcards to Alaskan Senators re: Border Justice for children
Fourth of July McCarthy Alaska 2018 parade
McCarthy River Tours float. “Ride the Wave”

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Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

4 thoughts on “Happy Independence Day!”

Consider this post an invitation, an invitation to comment and collaborate ~ In Solidarity, JE

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