Another Fourth of July — happy Independence Day to all of us. I don’t like to get political, but on this anniversary of our nation’s beginning, it feels quite bittersweet. So much seemingly falling to pieces around us — the border is a sieve, and without a border, you don’t have a country. So much friction among all those in power, so much power-grabbing all around, more desire to control the lives of others at the expense of anything else. Not Freudian that the “Lives of Others” was a movie about a time in Germany’s past better left in the past. Yet how different is that from what’s happening with our NSA?
I recently bought a book called “The American Citizen’s Handbook,” a book from the 1940s that instructs all about what it means to be an American, intended for those becoming American citizens. Why isn’t such a book required reading in schools these days? Because it’s too patriotic? Because it’s no longer “cool” to be proud of one’s country?
Sure, every country has good and bad in its history — a country is made up of it’s people and they’re as good and bad as they come. But in the past, I’ve always had absolute faith the “good” would ultimately and always prevail. Not always sure anymore, not without a lot of purging of some very ignorant isms being propogated by purposefully misleading leaders.
Also bought a copy of de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America,” another book that probably makes a better historical textbook of our democracy than most other history books taught in schools at present. Can’t wait to read it, to see his version about the spirit and faith that made America such a magnet. Whether that spirit and faith are still here in enough of a concentration to return to the strong and purposeful nation we’ve always been is yet to be seen. Always thought too much prosperity wasn’t a good thing; our country seems to be going through the end of the same historical national cycle of other nations that ultimately resulted in destruction from within.
Set off fireworks with our family this weekend. The little ones are just old enough to really appreciate the fun of sooty black “snakes,” the little poppers that pop when you throw them on the ground, and of course sparklers, Roman candles, and the others that make a tremendous amount of noise along with the color. So wonderful to see them watching with their eyes wide open, their “this is going to be sooo much fun!” and “whoa!” at particularly beautiful or surprising ones. Hard not to watch with a little pity; they’re the ones who aren’t growing up in the same safe environment I did, where you could run around with the neighbor kids until it got dark and everyone went home for their supper. So American, so secure, so sure were we that it would never change.
And before I get too morbid, I know things can change, and get better, and the American values can be passed on. It will take hard work, holding our leaders to account, truth-telling, and putting ourselves out there to take a stand for the America we know and love. It IS possible, as long as we’re unwilling to surrender it.