Next week we will celebrate America.

We’ll “mmm” as we chow down on hotdogs; we’ll “ooh” as we gaze up at fireworks.

We’ll sing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” hum “God Bless America,” and whistle Sousa tunes.

We’ll salute our flag, wave our flag, and pin it to the chests of our red, white and blue shirts.

Come evening, we’ll let designated drivers take the wheel when we find we’ve been overly enthusiastic in celebrating the spacious skies, purple mountains, fruited plains, hop fields, and vineyards that are the land we call home, sweet home.

Nothing wrong with any of that.

But let’s not imagine we have enjoyed a nutritious meal of high-protein patriotism when, in fact, what we’ve enjoyed is more like a glut of cotton candy patriotism.

Perhaps, this Fourth would be a good time for all of us to bring out (browse to?) a copy of our Constitution; a good time for us to refresh our memories; a good time for us to reflect.

Perhaps we could take time to discuss what our Bill of Rights means to us and why it’s important.

Perhaps we could ponder the one and only thing we can rightfully ask men and women in our military to put their lives on the line for. If you’ve forgotten what that one thing is, try Googling “U.S. military oath of office.” Hint: It has nothing to do with “protecting American interests,” and it has little to do with keeping Americans safe from terrorists.

Perhaps we could also take time to discuss the ways the PATRIOT Act and the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, despite their lofty names, are being used to undermine our Constitution and our freedoms.

Unfortunately, such discussions might be unsettling. Worse yet, they might require a small effort.

Fortunately, there’s a happier, simpler alternative:

We can remind ourselves that our enemies hate us for our freedoms. Once our freedoms have been taken from us, our enemies will think we are wonderful. We will all be friends.

What a fab Fourth that will be. Just picture it in your mind’s eye: A small (small, small, small) world living in peace and harmony, while a star-spangled banner waves o’er the land of the safe and the home of the brave — a glorious land where, from sea to shining sea, happy people safely celebrate America under the watchful eye of benevolent Big Brother.

God bless America.

Dan Pietsch