This is probably the first time that the First Reader and I have done the same post, but different viewpoints. So what you’re reading is first Sanford, then Cedar. Here’s our Fourth of July thoughts.
Happy Independence Day!
Today is the fourth day of July in the year 2016. I am normally excited by this day of the year. I can’t remember a Fourth of July where I was not proud and excited by the day, even if I were working, or broke, or anything else. Today seems to be an exception to that rule.
Normally I would be eager to break out and watch our copy of Yankee Doodle Dandy with James Cagney. I’d be looking forward to visiting some new friends and touring the Air Force Museum together as planned. The thought that our little town has a big celebration planned in the park a block from our house would have me bouncy and happy.
I’m not feeling it. I have to wonder why. It could just be a mood thing particular to me, though I don’t think so. I’ve been seeing signs of it from others. It could be the weather which in my little corner of the country seems more apropos to mid April than early July. Though the weather would normally be a thing which said to me that watching the parade will be comfortable, not an exercise in perspiration.
I don’t think it is any of those things. I think it is watching our country tear itself apart. For the last 20 to 30 years I have watched our internal relations deteriorate. In 92 we elected a lying rapist who still makes a large sector of our population swoon. In 2000 we elected a liberal Democrat and called him a Right Wing Republican and vilified all things “right” to the point that this year he is still being blamed by the media and the left wing for unseasonable weather and cases of boils. In 08 we elected a red diaper baby for the color of his skin and his Anti-American beliefs. In 16 we have been force fed a choice between the greater of two evils.
Any of those things might be survivable, but we have become so divided as a nation through this unrelenting drive to suicide that the two sides can’t even see any value to the other. We are living in a country where the majority, which actually prefers a middle course, feels disenfranchised and lost. When disagreeing with the policies of a president causes one to be held up as a racist. Where not kowtowing to a tiny fringe population makes you some sort of monster. Where holding traditional views of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness makes you scum.
I think I am feeling despair. I know too many fear that it will end up in bloodshed. I fear that as well. Sadly I also fear we will surrender to those who want to surrender all power to the state without firing a shot. We live in a country where the founding fathers are being removed from public buildings for being men of their times.
Yeah, I’m not feeling it.
I’m feeling it. I’m sitting here listening to the parade pass by our house less than a block away. We might not be on the sidewalk waving flags, but we hold our freedom dear in our hearts. As do the folks who have braved a chilly, drizzly day to take our places by the parade (candy in the rain, oh dear).
I know that we have the freedom, my First Reader and I, to publish this post on my blog here in a few minutes. We don’t have to run it by some government censor, we can say what we want, and a few minutes later, you can read it. This is great freedom, and I cherish it.
I know that the political situation is dire. I’m not going to argue that. I identify as apolitical because I am firmly convinced that at a certain level, all politicians are corrupt. For one thing, personalities that are drawn to power are deeply flawed (as I’ve seen on a smaller scale than the national macropolitics in the Hugo truefen) which means that the people who thrust themselves into the national limelight are already not right. And that’s before the system subsumes them.
But while we are losing freedoms, we still are free. Freer than most of the world can comprehend. Global mocking of the affection we have for our flag, for this celebration of our Independence Day, that misses the point. We won through blood and tears the freedom to protect human rights, and we will keep doing that. We may have to fight the system to regain freedoms we relinquished in the name of security, but the rule of law still holds in our great nation, and we can gain back lost ground without the spilling of blood.
So yes, I’m feeling proud to have been born an American today. I don’t take it for granted. I can’t – I’ve been not-free, and I won’t go back there again. I’ve done enough research into the world that surrounds our nation, growling in envy at it, that I know what we have is precious. And while the ruling elites sip greedy from the cup of power they hold, the little people, the flyover states, the men with dirt and grease under their nails… they live. They raise babies who salute the flag gravely when it is time to sing the song. They riotously shoot of fireworks, and cook feasts for families, and tomorrow they go back to work, keeping the superstructure of our nation intact.
We are free!