Smoke Over the Capital | Teen Ink

Smoke Over the Capital MAG

By Anonymous

     It was the Fourth of July, and I was on the balcony of the finest house in Austin, Texas. My great-uncle owned this palace, and my family and I were there to watch the fireworks from the large encased stone ledge. There were tiny bursts of light in the distance, but finally, up soared the first one, a dazzling red spectacle: Kaboom! We marveled at the sight. More fireworks followed as we gaped and gawked. A few minutes after the first firework, however, thick smoke began gathering over the scene. At first, I assumed it was just a cloud blocking the fireworks, but then I realized the smoke was caused by the bombastic objects of our viewing, and was thickening with each additional firework. Soon, the fireworks were so clouded they were barely visible even to us, standing on a balcony on a hill. Drivers on the highway had stopped to gaze at the fireworks, but now they were gaping in horror at the black cloud hanging above their heads. By the end of the great display, the toxic smoke had spread through the entire night sky.

At that moment, I was enlightened. An elaborate metaphor struck me (it was political, of course, being the Fourth of July in the capital of Texas).

The sporadic fireworks at the start were like the random surges of anti-Americanism and ensuing patriotism in the past years: one example being the assassination attempt on George H.W. Bush and the resulting bombing of Iraq. However, most of these surges haven't amounted to much: thus, the smallness of these fireworks.

Then, however, there was that first firework of startling scarlet: September 11, 2001. Almost instantly, fireworks of other colors were fired to chase after the first. These were the invasion of Afghanistan, the Patriot Act, the creation of Homeland Security, and finally the invasion of Iraq. The smoke produced by these fireworks, however, soon hid the fireworks themselves so that I couldn't tell whether they were red or blue or violet anymore. They were all one and the same. And the smoke was so thick that we the people couldn't see the torture being done by American soldiers to get prisoners' confessions. The screams of those captives were hidden behind the thick black curtain of smoke, sealed from the public eye so we could continue living our lives without a thought of what was actually happening to others.

From this simple tradition of fireworks on Independence Day, I realized the enormity of the crisis our country is facing. The terrible deeds done in the name of patriotism just aren't going to go away with the next president. The fissions we have caused with other countries will be extremely difficult to heal. In fact, if they are too large, they may never heal. It's time for change, right now. The smoke gathering above the capital is thick enough as it is; there's no need for it to get any thicker.

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i love this so much!