Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. ~Ronald Reagan.
We live in the home of the brave and the land of the free. Yes? Right? Can I get a witness?
Maybe you’re expecting a flag-waving blog piece with a marching band and a few F-16s flying over. If that’s so, you may want to stop reading here and check out another blog because frankly — for a variety of reasons — you may not see as much celebration on this Independence Day 2020.
You may call this a rant or a rave or even melodramatic hyperbole, but hear me out because these are crazy times that lead to a lot of hand wringing and head shaking. Insanity, madness, frenzy or hysteria don’t seem to rise to the level of description of today’s free-for-all for one-upmanship or jockeying for position in the boat.
Still, it’s the home of the brave and the land of the free! Right? Help me, I’m trying to convince myself here.
Rant #1. This country has been headed down the divisive road for a few decades now. At this point in 2020, most tribes won’t even talk with other tribes. They’d just as soon yell at a distance, hide behind a computer on so-called social media and throw stones (mostly figuratively, but sometimes literally). Whatever happened to let’s agree to disagree? Whatever happened to civil conversation? And don’t tell me it’s “their” fault. You’re as much a part of this rant as I am.
Rant #2. Whatever happened to our elected representatives? Come on, some of you hate Trump and others despise Obama. Most of you will tolerate Bush, and we won’t even get into the Clinton discussion. But as much as you want to blame Trump or Obama, most of the problems were lurking under the surface before they took office! Dozens and dozens of representatives and U.S. senators have been in office so long they should know Moses by his first name! We have problems with immigration, race, education and health care. Don’t blame the guys in the White House, put the blame squarely on the men and women in Congress who instead point fingers, throw those stones and then flip flop depending on which way the political winds are blowing at the moment. I’d be fine if we voted ’em all out and started fresh!
Rant #3. I’m a flag-waving American, so let’s make a deal. Don’t hold it against me when I stand up and salute and I won’t bash you when you kneel. You won’t likely change my opinion on the matter, and I’m quite sure I won’t change yours. But respect is the ultimate salute.
Rant #4. We live in a wearying time. Many people — not just you — are facing tough times and unusual challenges. Too many people are…
- Looking over their shoulders.
- Frightened to speak out for fear of being mocked or derided.
- Worried about the future.
- Facing fear, hopelessness, depression and saying “I’m okay”.
- Not telling the truth and spreading slander, scandal and scorn.
- Watching out for themselves and not others.
- Demanding rights for one group and denying them for another.
Rant #5. We’re told we should be on the right side of history, but I’d rather be on the right side of our future! Are we really arguing over monuments, who wears masks or not, who’s right and who’s wrong, standing or kneeling and are we seriously secretly pulling for our leaders to fail? All the while, people are dying and going to hell, living under highways and scared to go out at night. I can’t change the past, but I can darn sure impact the future!
Rant #6. What are you for anyway? Believe me, I know what you’re against. You’re against Trump, you don’t like Obama, you hate McConnell, Schumer and Pelosi. You’re against masks, or you’re against people who don’t wear masks. You defend riots, or you’re against rioters. You detest Republicans, or you despise Democrats. We know you’ve lost friends over the past few months. I’ve written this before: Can you make your point without mentioning a politician’s name or party or by leaving out the name of a friend or enemy or without using Fox, CNN or MSNBC? If your point is strong enough to stand on its own, and you really believe what you’re saying, make your point! Because what you’re against is being heard loud and clear!
Rant #7. Enough already with double standards. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, so let’s quit with different rules for different people and just create a level playing field. It’s always been the goal of America but still falls short during implementation. Don’t expect something of me that you won’t adhere to as well, and I’ll follow the same guideline.
Look friends — and I hope we are still friends — we still live in the greatest country in the world. Does she have blemishes, flaws and warts? Of course, probably just like your family and mine. But there are still more people trying to come to America than any other country in the world. Why is that?
Perhaps as much as ever before, America faces an uncertain future. But the things that have made her strong are still in the fabric of a country that has withstood wars, division, tyranny, terror and struggle of every kind. She is still strong enough that no outer force will take her down. If she falls, it will be because of inner strife and conflict. Think about that!
Yes, what makes America admirable and attractive is the people — past, present and future — and it will be the people who determine its future. Moreover, it will be the people who decide whether or not Independence Day lives on for future generations. Take a look at the video to the right, from a generation ago: A different time, a different era, but a great reminder of values and goals for America.
What am I saying? Focus on the things we have in common. There is more that we agree on that divides us. If I’m wrong about that, America is in greater trouble than it appears.
You can agree to disagree, but this Independence Day must be a rallying point for all those who love America. The hope still is strong, the banner yet waves and the home of the brave and land of the free still calls.
Let’s celebrate again. We are Americans first.