Before July 4th, 2002, I bought a very cool, artsy shirt online that has an image of the Statute of Liberty superimposed with the Preamble to the Constitution, and “We the People” prominantly repeated in down the sleeves, back, etc. Sounds gawdy, but it’s perfect for 4th of July.

I bought it at a time when I was rebounding from 9/11, in the midst of a strongly nationalistic streak, and I wanted to believe that this country’s people were bigger than the politicians who rumbled about a war with Iraq. Americans keep their eyes on the ball. We wouldn’t let our politicians run roughshod all over the world.

On February 5, 2003, I put that shirt in the back of my closet. I felt angry and defeated and not at all proud to be an American. Every July 4th since then, I’ve looked at the stupid thing, sneered, then chosen something else to wear to the fireworks.

This year, though, I wore it — my un/conscious recognition that this 8-year long, oppressive tunnel is finally showing signs of daylight . . .