'A strange kind of Fourth of July': Politics force their way into celebrations

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(WJRT) (7/4/2019) - "The 4th to me, it's about family, celebrating our independence, celebrating freedom, celebrating being able to do whatever you want to do in the United States," Mom Shateria Childress said.

"Barbecuing, nice spread, have a blessed day," fellow Flint resident, Ollie Moore added.

The people we caught up with on this holiday said everyone has the right to freedom of speech; but, they don't think the 4th of July should be politicized.

"Because I just feel like it takes away of what the day is supposed to be about," Mom Ariel Simpson explained. "You know, every holiday for us is just quality time with family because you don't always get that time."

But, Mott College Political Science Professor Paul Rozycki said politics is dominating the conversation this year.

"So it's a strange kind of 4th of July it really is," he said.

Michigan Congressman Justin Amash walked in a parade to mark the holiday, shortly after announcing he's leaving the Republican Party.

"It's an odd time to make any kind of an announcement like that," Rozycki said.

But he explained, maybe Amash felt pressure as more and more Republicans gear up to run against him.

"His chances didn't look good as a Republican," he said. "But, the question now is whether he runs for Congress as an Independent or whether he seeks the libertarian nomination for President."

In Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump is once again changing the game.

"Usually the President either doesn't say anything at all or says very little, greets people and that's about it," Rozycki explained.

But this year, the President has a celebration planned with military tanks and fly-overs involved.

"As far as I know, the tickets were given out mainly to the Republican National Committee - the tickets for the VIP section," Rozycki said. "And, I'm sure there will be a big temptation on Trump's part to say something partisan other than let's just celebrate the nation's birthday."

Protests are already planned.

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