This last weekend was the 4th of July. This is a day normally spent with family and friends and maybe large crowds watching spectacular firework shows. But this Independence Day, like everything else this year was different. Or maybe it wasn’t. It really depends on how you are approaching this whole global pandemic thing. For us, it was different. Not just because we are trying to socially distance ourselves and keep our family safe in a state and area where cases are surging, but also because it’s hard this year, at least for me, to want to celebrate our great country.
Now, here is where I need to stop for a minute, and just say, I am sure there are going to be people who are going to be offended by this post, and I’m sorry. This blog is becoming more and more of a personal outlet for me, and the problem with something like that is that I might feel differently about something than you do. This doesn’t mean I am trying to convince you of anything, I am just sharing y thoughts. Feel free to comment whatever you want, in support of or against my post, I am fine with it either way.
So back to the topic. I really truly believe that this country is great. Some have called it a great experiment. The documents upon which our nation our founded, I truly believe they were inspired of God. These include the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. When these documents were created, there was nothing like them in the world. And the country our forefathers founded was unlike any other in the world. I really believe that. At the center of our nation are the ideals of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Life and liberty seem to be the two most centric themes to everything we believe our country stands for.
As a result of this new infant nation, founded with these ideals in mind, many other nations would come forward with similar documents and similar ideals. Now the world is filled with numerous nation states that believe in life and liberty, following our lead. It’s awesome. We have been this beacon of hope and freedom and liberty for nearly 250 years.But how are we doing in our own country? That’s a loaded question, and I don’t have all the answers, so I’m not pretending to. But I think I would look around and say we have some problems. Some issues. Some areas where we could improve. That’s said with all the patriotic love in my heart. And I have a lot.
That’s part of the problem, though, as I see it. Somehow, if I say something critical about the United States, or if I write about something we could do better, then I hate this country. I am ungrateful for my freedoms here, and maybe I should move somewhere else. Which blows me away. As a parent, I love my kids, but it doesn’t mean that I turn a blind eye to any areas where I can help them to grow and improve. In fact, I want my kids to hit their potential, so sometimes I have to have tough conversations about issues they are having, and then we work together to figure them out and help them improve.
That’s love. What we seem to be talking about with love of country is more like infatuation or having a crush. We are supposed to put our country on this pedestal and blindly love it. That doesn’t work. That’s not love. I love this country. I truly believe that this country has the foundation to be the greatest country in the world. But we aren’t there yet. And when I look around at social media and news sites, and especially in an election year, it is hard not to feel like we are far from it. But, we can get there.
We need to have real and frank conversations about race, about poverty, about health and well being, about violence, crime, drugs, etc. And we need to break ourselves from the plague of bipartisanship. Having competing parties, I think, is fine, but we are more loyal to our political party affiliation more than anything else. This has been apparent in the last few elections we have had. We stop judging candidates on their moral character, and instead simply vote for the one who has the right letter after their name.
The whole point of this post, believe it or not, wasn’t to complain. I am an optimist. I think that right now, it is easy to look around and see how everything feels like it’s all falling apart, but if we take a moment to listen to those we disagree with, if we take a step back and understand that most people want things to get better for everyone, if we can understand that and talk to each other instead of at each other- that would be amazing. America would be great again. America would shine even brighter in the darkness. And I think we can get there. I know we can.
More listening, more studying, more understanding, and more learning. Less shouting, less assuming, less apathy, and less ignorance. This is the only country in the world where to be “American” is not determined by where your family came from or the color of your skin or your religion or anything else. And it is only through embracing this diversity that America truly reaches its potential. Then- then we are unstoppable. Then we conquer the evils that are holding us back. But we can only do it together. Until that day comes, until we rely so much on the divisiveness that is so prevalent, we won’t get there. But I think we can. I hope we can, and I am trying to do what I can to get there.
So, happy belated Independence Day. I hope you were able to celebrate responsibly and safely wand remember with gratitude those who have gone before, and consider what you can do, what we all can do to move us forward in greatness.