July 4th is the one day a year when all Americans come together to honor and celebrate the momentous beginnings of the only nation on earth run by the people and for the people. No where in the past, or since, has this type of a democracy existed. It has always been a symbol to all and a beacon for those living under tyranny. Many who came to these shores risked their very lives seeking the American Dream. Willing to make the journey, even if it meant dying in the desert or on the water, to give themselves and their families a life they could never imagine was possible any where else.
That’s what America represents.
We have never been perfect. Far from it.
Too often we espouse our virtues when they neglect or ignore whole sections of our own population.
But we have never stopped evolving, never stopped moving towards a better tomorrow for all.
Together, we have been invincible.
Ended two world wars started by despots who sought total domination by destroying and enslaving humanity.
Survived unimaginable economic losses during a horrifying depression.
Traveled to a new frontier that opened up the skies and landed us on the moon.
Helped to dismantle the Berlin Wall, unifying a country that had divided families for decades.
Saw earth shattering changes in the Soviet Union.
Fought back the horrors of terrorism that hoped to chip away at our very souls with senseless attacks.
Brought incredible technology and medical advancements to the world. For generations it was believed that with America watching over us we could all breathe a little easier. And we’ve seen the worst in ourselves when greed and hate threatened the very foundations we cling to.
The enslavement of Black Americans.
Systematic attempts to eradicate American Indians.
Subjugation of half the population based on their anatomy.
Rounding up the Japanese and putting them in interment camps to soothe our own concerns.
McCarthy intentionally feeding on fears of communism to destroy lives through his kangaroo court.
Wars and dictators supported for purely political or economical reasons that caused irrevocable harm to others.
Demeaning and denying rights to those whose beliefs or lifestyles do not mirror the rest.
Too often promoting a system filled with widespread iniquities based on the very diversity we sought to encourage and protect with the constitution.
We are far from perfect.
On July fourth our forefathers set out to make a more perfect nation. That was the promise. That was the goal.
Today we face threats on multiple fronts. A pandemic that is ravaging our nation, already ripping apart over a hundred thousand families, with millions more in danger. Economic devastation not seen since the depression. Rampant unemployment rates. Attacks to the essence of our judicial system that is dismantling, piece by piece, the very ideals that lead to the Revolutionary War. Systemic racism that has violently taken enough innocents. The senseless loss of too many killed by guns.
This year it is harder to blithely celebrate a country that feels like its imploding. This time too many feel alone and isolated. Impotent to change their own condition, let alone the nation’s. But those are the times when we have always persevered. When others sought our downfall or thought we’d succumb, we showed them what being an American really means.
Maybe that’s why so many have taken to the streets. Once again risking everything to force changes that align us closer to the breathtaking promise we made to the world on Independence Day- equality and justice for all. Whether using the right to peacefully protest, getting out the vote, or refusing to foster oppression, we have always fought back, and ultimately grown closer to the principles we represent.
This is a pivotal point in our country. Faced with incredible adversity, fears and division. Together we can overcome. Together we can acknowledge our mistakes and choose a different path. Together we can all flourish with our democracy, freedoms and health intact.
That’s always been the key to our survival, longevity and brilliance- together we will see better days.