As the calendar flips to a new month and the temperatures continue to rise, communities across the country are gearing up for festive Fourth celebrations. Parades, festivals and of course, fireworks can be counted on to commemorate the anniversary of America’s founding in a grand fashion.

For a country born of a war for independence that should have never been won, the multitudes of loud, colorful explosions seem a fitting way to offer tribute.

The Fourth will look a little different for us than in past years, with our first Southern holiday. At least the fireworks will. No more watching the town fireworks from our front yard for starters.

I have already been informed that mortars (legal, of course, in our new community) will most definitely be involved, and that is before the kids even get in their requests. Vince may have the biggest wish list of us all!

After all the rain we have gotten in Tennessee, fire risk moves much lower in the calculation.

Our town offers a big fireworks extravaganza, which this year is set to a live ZZ Top tribute band, over at the regional sports complex a few miles away. We may have to check that out....though I’m pretty positive there will be more than enough fireworks in our own backyard for hours of entertainment.

Also included in the lead up festivities are a couple of farmer’s markets and a star-spangled community band concert.

These kind of community activities are a sampling of what is best about out nation. Not just the idea of our nation, but of us, the people who make America what it is. They are a celebration of all the gifts our founders gave us, and remind us that it is our job to make sure America succeeds and stands as an example of individual freedom for the rest of the world.

So celebrate away, and have a happy Fourth everyone!

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Fireworks aren’t left only to the holidays with President Trump holding court over Washington D.C. this summer. From action with Iran to a situation at the border that is moving from crisis to catastrophe in a hurry, there has been no usual summer lull in politics or politicking.

From staff replacements to military strikes, the president has shown time and again that the usual norms and responses are yesterday’s news, and those who leak to try to maneuver him into a corner do so at their own risk. Competing narratives of Trump’s action or inaction were quick to spread from social media to opinion pieces, all proclaiming their version of Trump strategy. All the analysis was off the mark in most ways, as has been the norm in the Trump era.

The use of strategic leaks is not new to politics, but never have I witnessed a profession (the media) so willing to sabotage their reputation on the backs of anonymous sources who continually are so very wrong.

Relying on leaks from intelligence and military communities all the way to West Wing operations, the national press serves as little more than gossip columnists working the phones for the latest tidbit of trivia and innuendo, packaged and sourced by private intelligence firms and media relations consultants.

More than a few of those same reporters who like to score points against the administration on social media showboat the second the briefing cameras are rolling were more than willing to attend Trump spokesperson Sarah Sanders going away party at a steakhouse in D.C. this week.

On that note, it will be interesting to see the White House Press Corp’s reception of Stephanie Grisham to the post of communications director and press secretary for the West Wing after serving as an assistant to the First Lady since 2015.

I have few expectations that she will be treated better than Sean Spicer or Sanders.

Not that I have expected love notes and boxes of chocolate from the press for any spokesperson during an Republican administration. I expect tough questions, and a respectful, adversarial back and forth. The absolute rude, partisan and childish behavior shown by the press all because Trump has been beyond shameful, to say the least.

A reset would be advised for the briefing room, but I’m definitely not holding my breath.

Staff columnist Toni Butero can be reached at tbutero@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 862-2222.