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Let the elephants fall to earth!

For my daughter, the Fourth is the day an elephant fell from the sky. Optimistically, I'll take that as a metaphor for political change.
 
 
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I've been wondering how to explain July 4th to my 2 1/2 year old daughter. She seems a little young for the whole there's-a-fine-line-between-patriotism-nationalism-and-fascism discussion. She doesn't yet know we live in California, much less the United States. She has a vague sense that we live in Oakland and that out the window, far away, is San Francisco. But, really, she's quite provincial. "I love my house," she tells me.

I was talking to someone about how to explain it all, when my daughter chimed in."Fourth of July?" she repeated, excited. "That's Miss Mary Mack!" It's true, I realized, she already knew all about the Fourth. According to the song, after bargaining with her mother and getting fifty cents to watch the elephant jump over the fence, on July 4th Miss Mack sees the elephant return to earth with a great big thud.

Well, it's hard not to take that as a political prophecy. After all, many children's songs are connected to real political events. Ring Around the Rosie is about the plague. London Bridges Falling Down is about the queen locked in the Tower of London. A brief attempt to research the origins of Miss Mary Mack led me only to the obscure knowledge that on the 1st of November 1866, one Mr. Brown wedded one Miss Mary J. Mack, who was born in Preble County, Ohio. And Mr. Brown is identified as a life-long prominent Democrat.

These might be slim pickings, but revolutions have started with less. Why not take Miss Mary Mack at its word? Perhaps this will be the year when, on the Fourth of July, people reaffirm the Bill of Rights, reclaim the truth from politicians who use patriotism as an excuse for occupation, and let the elephants come raining down.

Rachel Neumann is Rights & Liberties Editor at AlterNet.