If you’re in the USA and celebrating, I wish you a very Happy Independence Day! I hope you have a fun time in your celebrations while taking safety around fireworks seriously.
*** Spoiler Alert: I get on a bit of a soapbox about the state of my nation in the following paragraphs. Feel free to skip if you want to just have light-hearted fun today (which I totally respect). ***
Today, the United States of America turns 241. We’re not as old as some nations, but older than others. Many, many people have fought and given their lives for the freedoms that we sometimes take for granted. We’ve been through many trials and tribulations throughout the years, but I honestly believe we’re in the midst of some of the most important battles we’ve faced.
The Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal”. Did our founding fathers mean that? Not really. They meant that all white men were created equal. They didn’t include women or people of color in that statement. The sad thing today is that many people in this country still believe the original context, that all white men are created equal. We see it in the systematic discrimination against women, people of color, immigrants, etc. We see it in how our brothers and sisters of color, immigrants, and those who are LGBTQ are treated in our society. We see it how rape victims are blamed and rapists are protected time and time again. We see it in police brutality and how mental illness in whites is treated as acceptable, while mental illness in a person of color is usually seen as grounds for them to be shot.
I firmly believe that if this country is going to survive another 241 years, this has to change. I’m a white, cis-gendered female. I will not claim to have any understanding on what it feels like to be a person of color or an immigrant or part of the LGBTQ community. I will likely never understand that. BUT, that does not mean that as a white, cis-gendered individual that I can sit idly by while my friends and loved ones suffer. Nor do I believe that ANYone should sit by while others suffer. If you can’t get out in march in protest marches (like I can’t), join a letter-writing campaign, call your senators and representatives. Tell them that if they don’t start making policies that are inclusive and protect equal rights, they’ll find themselves out of a job.
Some people believe that this nation was formed based on Christian principles. I personally don’t believe that’s true, but even if it was, we are certainly not living as a Christian nation. Would Christ really be happy with the fact that 1 in 5 children in this country are in danger of being hungry every single day of their lives? Would Christ really be happy that people cannot get adequate health care when they’re sick without going into bankruptcy? Would Christ really be happy that you only seem to count if you’re rich? Would He be impressed with our recent immigration policies and deportations? Would He be happy with the recent passing of laws that advocate discrimination? I don’t think so. Granted, I’m not on the best terms with God/Christ at the moment, so maybe I’m wrong. But I think if we were truly acting as a Christian nation, we would be expanding our programs to help the poor. We would be enforcing equal rights for EVERYONE, regardless of their country of origin, their race, their immigration status, their sexual orientation, their gender, or their religion.
Part of being a responsible citizen in this country is speaking up when things are wrong. Right now, there’s a whole mess of wrong in this country. Unfortunately, the only people really banding together and talking about what’s “wrong” are those who want to make us more divided and less unified. It’s time to get our friends and loved ones who want to talk about unifying us and fighting against discrimination to come forward and organize. No politician is perfect; they should all wear patches on their suits with which lobbyists support them like race cars. BUT, that doesn’t mean we can’t make educated, informed decisions based on the whole of a person’s voting record, not just their stance on one issue.
I really don’t know if America can weather the storm we’re in right now. I truly don’t know. I hope we can. There are good things here when they’re enforced. Our 1st amendment rights are important, tho’ they’re being besieged right now. The Declaration of Independence also talks about how when the current government perpetuates abuses and becomes destructive, it is the duty of the people to rise up and say “NO” and take whatever steps necessary to break ties with that government.
My challenge to you today is that if you truly believe in equal rights for all regardless of race, religion, country of origin, gender, sexual orientation, etc. that you find a progressive group in your area and participate in some fashion. If you live in an area where you have politicians who already fight for these things, make sure you send them letters to thank them for their continued fight. If you live in areas where your politicians do not believe in these things, make them aware that you are a constituent and you will work to see them voted out of office in the mid-term elections next year unless they actually start voting the way their constituents want them to. Finally, when it comes to those elections, get out there and VOTE VOTE VOTE!! None of the letter writing and calling really matters if you don’t get out and VOTE to put politicians you want into office.
Nothing’s going to be fixed overnight, but we have to start somewhere! Let’s go out and fight for the freedoms that our forefathers wanted us to have!
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One thought on “Happy Birthday, America!”
Happy Independence Day, Valerie. Very fair, honest and well-said post. 🙂
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