I usually like looking at social media feeds on holidays like Christmas and seeing the family photos and the Bible verses and the carol quotes, but I stopped looking on the Fourth of July. While there certainly were some poignant sayings and ideas and tributes, I just couldn’t get past all the American flag bikinis.
I’m not going to claim that bikinis are the end-all, be-all of sin and debauchery on the Fourth of July or on any other day. There are plenty of worse things that go on and plenty of worse social media posts, but this one strikes me as particularly ironic. Because too often the American flag bikini is pictured as something patriotic, often worn by a conservative or somebody who claims to believe in the “message” of the Founding Fathers. I can’t help but wonder, that is your act of patriotism?
In general, most conservative, patriotic people seem to believe that the flag is something at least semi-sacred. At least they don’t believe it ought to be burned or trampled, so why wear it on a string bikini? Would an image of Jesus be displayed in that fashion? Of course not. At least not by people who respect Him.
So what does it say about a culture when the flag is used as a tool of cheap sexualization by those who still do believe in it?
The bikinis are just one of many symptoms of a culture that has lost its sense of the sacred. Of course, there is nothing wrong with parties and celebrations. Parties and celebrations are one of the most important and essential aspects of our humanity, but the fun must be integral to what we view with reverence and solemnity. Devout Christians certainly celebrate on Christmas with wine and food and dance and cheer.
But most also stand in Church, dressed to their best, and pay their respects to God. Certainly plenty of people have fun on the Fourth of July, and that they should. But the older generations would also attend church on that day, holding back tears of joy through the verses of America the Beautiful.
That tradition has been long lost on the millenials. I’m not saying everybody has to go to church on the Fourth of July, but if we don’t have some element of seriousness and of sacredness then what is this all for? What does this country even mean?
I think that’s a significant question, and I’m not sure what the answer is. Given the current state of our country, I have quite mixed feelings on the Fourth of July. But I do know this. I hope American freedom means more than wearing an American flag bikini with two beers in hand and posting it to Instagram with the hashtag #amurica.