I have a nefarious thought as I write this blog: “I bet if I wrote a ‘politically’ charged blog post, I’d get more action in my comments section”. It’s tempting just because sometimes playing devil’s advocate is an amusing exercise to provoke discussion. Oh, it’s tempting.
I’ll toe the line as I write about celebrating the 4th, which is tomorrow, and really just a holiday I love because I get work off and I usually get to indulge in time with family and friends. I also get to eat BBQ and drink beer, devoid of the promise of indigestion later that night. I don’t care much for the fireworks theatrics (I’m just not impressed anymore) though I am cringing at the thought of one of my inconsiderate neighbors lighting a Piccolo Pete too close and scaring our boy out of his sweet baby slumber. In reality, the day signifies much more than that for me.
(Here is where I deliberate on whether or not to put a video of President Bill Pullman from Independence Day give a rousing speech on defeating those evil aliens that abducted Randy Quaid before he went on the lam and thought it cool to challenge our great American heroes: Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum.)
Let’s be honest, the history of the thirteen original colonies and declaring independence from the British Empire is thick with details. There’s a lot to go through. We celebrate the day because our forefathers essentially looked at building a nation that would be free and governed unto itself. Whatever your proclivities are, I understand them. There’s a lot of ugliness in history both in that of the United States and everyone else on the map. Bloody hands can be found all around.
For me, I’m thankful for the actions committed with the intention to build a nation on a notion of freedom, having natural rights protected. Not everyone in the world is blessed to that capacity. We can all agree (I would hope so) that freedom is a great and wonderful thing to have and hold. My hope and encouragement is that whatever your leanings or feelings towards others these days in our nation you will consider them as people first, willing to consider their position. It doesn’t matter if you agree or have a deep-seeded dislike. An important lesson I learned and try to live by each and every day is to remember that I can only manage myself. It’s not my place to force or convert others but to live out a life of decency and consideration.
During this time of celebration, my hope is that we will see common courtesy extended to others even if it’s not given to us. My hope is to see hands embracing rather than looking to inflict harm or damage. My hope is to see days where respect can be offered despite differences. I think our founders had similar hopes for this freedom experiment of a nation and we should be grateful for their efforts, sacrifices, and dreams this 4th of July.
Call to Action: Find a friend or family member you know you differ with, don’t go looking for a fight, and share a drink and some laughs. Light fireworks, eat burgers and hotdogs, and show some appreciation for who they are. And be safe!