People waving flags, large and small. Children on the shoulders of their parents, waving those little flags. Celebrities performing. Miltary bands performing. You know.
I sometimes think, perhaps correctly, that Europeans sort of look down on Americans for what they must think are displays of naive (and probably misplaced) patriotism.
Anyway, it happens every year on the 4th of July. The politicians are out of town for their holiday, so the American people reclaim their capitol for a few hours. Maybe they ought to just stay put, eh? -- children sitting on the railings of the carved marble balustrades of the capitol building, swinging their legs and eating ice cream. Screw Congress - we're not giving it back to you. Heh.
Well, today, on the evening news, there were the yesterday videos of the obligatory interviews as the reporters worked the happy crowd of maybe a couple hundred thousand. "What do YOU like about America?" "Why do you like living in America?" "What do you like MOST about living in America?" "Is America still great?" Loaded questions. Of course there were no negative responses in this crowd. "Hell, yes, America is still great!" "I love living here because of the freedom." That last was repeated a dozen times or so. No nasty negative sarcasm.
At the edge of the walkway are some benches and on one bench was a lady without a flag, just sitting there taking it all in, with a little white paper bag on her lap. The reporter shoved the microphone in her face and asked what she loved most about America. As soon as she opened her mouth it was obvious she was British, maybe even of the Scottish persuasion. The reporter adjusted his ear to her accent and repeated the question.
"What was that? What do you like best about America?"
"The doughnuts, I said. Best damn doughnuts I ever tasted. We don't got them like these."