A June poll revealed that 85% of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction, conducted just days before the Fourth of July.
One portion of the American population — college students — showed that students’ feelings while celebrating their country on the Fourth of July this year ranged from feeling proud to feeling like “mourning.”
“I didn’t feel patriotic this year,” UF student Alicia Marreroriera said. “Patriotism certainly has a concept of freedom behind the word… I don’t know that my freedoms are necessarily protected anymore in this country.”
Within the past month, the U.S. Supreme Court made divisive decisions regarding guns, climate change and abortion.
According to the rulings published on the Supreme Court government website on June 23, the Court ruled that Americans have a constitutional right to carry guns out of the house, loosening gun regulations.
The next day, June 24, the majority of the Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade, which protects an individual’s right to an abortion.
Then, on June 30, the Supreme Court voted to decrease the Environmental Protection Agency’s power in reducing power plants’ carbon outputs.
Marreroriera attended a fraternity party this Independence Day, where she wore a green and pink outfit — making this her first year not wearing American colors on the holiday.
“I was celebrating but also protesting at the same time,” she said.
Marreroriera said she opted out of wearing any red, white or blue attire. Instead, she protested the celebration by wearing colors representing reclaiming femininity and Latin America’s progressive green wave movement.
“Protesting is patriotic,” Marreroriera said about her deliberate color selections in her outfit.
Marreroriera contrasted the emotions she felt this holiday compared to past years. She thinks of a unique red, white and blue outfit to wear every year, but not this year.
“In the past, I had proudly worn red, white and blue. This year was different because I had no interest in wearing those colors,” Marreroriera said.
She decided to celebrate the Fourth of July despite her sadness over the recent Supreme Court decisions.
“I decided to enjoy the Fourth of July, even though I was conflicted because I didn’t want to mope in my room,” said Marreroriera.
UF student Isabella Contopoulo viewed the holiday in a positive light this year, despite the controversy. She usually celebrates Independence Day with her family in Florida. This year, however, she celebrated the holiday at Boston Harbor, Massachusetts.
“I thought there was no better place to celebrate the Fourth,” Contopoulo said. “I’m a big history buff, so I loved being in the Boston area and close to the foundation of our nation. I’m proud of my country and wanted to honor and celebrate it.”
Marreroriera said she grew up having fun every year on the Fourth of July. But this year, she is not “celebrating in a blind way.”
“I feel that those who are wearing red, white and blue this year are being blind to the struggles of people of color, women and the LGBTQ community,” Marreroriera said.
Contopoulo described feeling very patriotic during her Fourth of July weekend.
“I feel patriotic all the time,” she said. “Patriotism to me is just believing. I mean, I guess I’ve never thought about it this deep.”
She said the country’s current political climate did not affect her or her friends’ Independence Day.
“I love my country, and the decisions made in the Supreme Court did not affect my Fourth of July. My sense of patriotism and love for my country has not changed. If anything, it’s stronger,” said Contopoulo.
She went on to add, “I didn’t feel a need to use this weekend as a way of protest. Decisions are made all the time that people don’t like. That’s why we have protests and checks and balances.”
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Celebrating the Fourth of July with a sparkler and an American flag. Unmodified photo by rawpixel used under a Creative Commons license (https://bit.ly/3RIk8G0)