Another 4th of July has come and gone. Many are still celebrating at the beach or mountains, or in their backyards. Whatever fun and festivities this week has held for you, I hope that you have enjoyed the holiday. This is one of the weeks in the summer that many of us slow down, barbecue with family and friends, and enjoy the bounty of our country.
Although Mike and I and our elder statesman Uncle Barry are at the beach, I spent the 4th inside nursing a bad cold. I was just glad that I did not have to go anywhere, not for a parade, or for hotdogs, or even for fireworks. All I wanted to do was sit on the sofa and do nothing, other than watch the TV, hoping to find something patriotic. Over the course of the day, I did see some brief patriotic news. I also saw some disturbing news. I agree with what one broadcaster said, “Even on the 4th of July, we cannot take a break from our divided positions.”
There were the usual Democratic/Republican accusations. That was not surprising, and not even disturbing since more often than not I listen to both sides from a jaded position. There was also more disturbing news about someone in a position of power turning his head to sexual assault by a coach on his players. As of this writing, it is not yet known if that accusation is accurate. Regardless of this particular situation, there has been entirely too much of this problem in our society.
One disturbing piece of news that was reported is that the percentage of Americans who are proud to be an American has declined in the past year. Now that is very troubling, although it probably shouldn’t be surprising given our political divide. But wait a minute. Maybe it should be surprising. Let’s reframe that. Let’s take the focus off of the White House, the President, and the political parties, and put the focus on our great country.
The fact that we live in a great country should not be debatable. Our view of America should not be based upon our view of the person in the White House or a particular political party. Just as our religious faith should not be based upon who is in the pulpit or the pews, our view of America should not be as fragile as our view of who lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, or who doesn’t. Nor of which political party has control of the House or Senate, or what decisions they make. Even with all of the divisiveness and confusion, I chose to believe that our country’s checks and balances will prevail.
I am proud to be an American, and that pride is not dependent on anyone or anything else. I am proud to live in a country that at its founding established the Declaration of Independence and its belief in unalienable rights. Certainly, at different times in our history certain groups of people have found their rights to be in question. We have worked those problems out, and while the solutions have not always been to everyone’s liking, we have steadily made progress, and we will continue to do so. As a country our beliefs have changed over time, evolving with our culture. Making decisions for a country of people, protecting the common good, and maintaining as much personal and collective rights as possible is not easy. The issues we have are complex. They will not be solved quickly or easily. That fact does not shake my belief in America.
Not just the 4th of July week, but always, I am proud to be an American. God Bless the U.S.A.!