Love it or leave it … or fix it.
Today is July 4, Independence Day in the US. Every town’s having parades, BBQs, fireworks, and concerts. Fishing derbies, flea markets, big box store sales, baseball games, you name it, whatever it takes to celebrate our country’s birthday.
It’s easy to succumb to feelings of pride in our nation on this day. After all, we’ve come a long way, baby. We owe it to ourselves to be proud.
On the other hand, many are not so proud today. Many are hungry. Many are in pain. Many are weeping while others are cheering as they wave Old Glory in the name of independence.
Many are angry, even as they put relish on their hot dogs.
This is as it should be.
Our country, the United States of America, is not a single organism. It is a group effort of many people who come from all walks of life, and who have different opinions about how things should work here. The US, when it is healthy, should be a bubbling, fermenting brew of thought, emotion, and striving for betterment. That’s a messy process.
Yes, on this day there is misery in the world. But history tells us that misery has always been part of the human condition. Our Declaration of Independence acknowledges it: “…all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”
So yeah, people do put up with a lot. We want to live the good life. We are happy to be cruising along in our comfort zones. We don’t want to think about problems. We don’t want to have to deal with our own problems much less anybody else’s. Experience tells us, though, that most people will tolerate only so much before they do something about it.
The US might not be perfect, but that’s because we’re human. We don’t live in a utopia; we live in the reality of 2018. Not everyone is celebrating, but we haven’t forgotten about them. The good news is that we citizens of the US are doing what we’re supposed to be doing. We have heaved ourselves off the couches of content and are paying attention to the problems. We’ve rolled up our sleeves and we are slinging around the tools that will fix things: ideas.
Ideas are how it begins.
We do want to make things better, and in the US we are free here to work out how that will come about. We all have ideas about how to best go about fixing things and we’re free to have those ideas and to express them. We are free to argue with each other about the way we run the place, and then we are free to vote to make it so. Our form of government is messy, sometimes ugly, but that’s the nature of liberty.
This is, my friends, a big deal, and you betcha we’re celebrating. Tomorrow we’ll get back to work.