When I was a kid, the 4thof July was the focal point of the summer. My uncle would take us to buy fireworks, although they were illegal within the city limits. It didn’t stop us or any of our neighbors. We would barbeque any and everything on the grill – as southerners we used charcoal and wood, none of that gas grill stuff. Ribs, chicken, hotdogs, and hamburgers. The entire family would meet up and we would have a great time. We celebrated. And honestly, we were poor and didn’t have much to celebrate but we did anyway and those were some great memories.
But now, I am not a kid anymore and the fourth of July doesn’t feel the same. I called my friends and asked who was grilling out this year and the answer was, no one. I texted my family to see if anyone was firing up the grill today and they all said no. So why doesn’t it feel like a “holiday”? Well, many of my family members have to work today. And maybe it’s because of the excessive heat that has a hold over the country right now? Maybe. Or is there nothing to celebrate? America has NOT been hitting it out of the park lately, at all.
I love America too but you have to admit, it’s hard to find a reason to celebrate these days. Now that everyone has come to grips with that fact that for as far as we have come as a nation and a people we are still deeply and maybe even hopelessly divided. I mean, we can’t even watch football anymore without a political debate over the national anthem. Confederate statues of the founding fathers of this nation are being scrutinized and removed because of ties to slavery. More white supremacist are openly running for elected offices today then over the last 25 years. When I hear someone say “Let’s make America great again” sounds like, “Let’s make America hate again” to me.
Activism is all the rage and protesting is all-American. Today more people are protesting in the streets against sexism, racism, and immigration reform than any time in my life time. When you see families being split up and placed in detention centers it’s hard to be proud of this country right now. Are we still the greatest nation? Well, I don’t know about that. A few months ago, a man reached out to me and asked if I would write his resume so he could get a job in America, but then Trump implemented his travel ban and the man emailed me and said he would just move to Canada instead.
A couple of my close friends just returned from European vacations and they both told me that people in Europe they met people who felt bad for Americans because they know that Americans are not as crazy as America’s leadership. That’s right, Americans are not as crazy as America’s leaders.
Crazy is right. What do you call it when you deport your own soldiers after they have fought and served in your military? Or trying to give teachers firearms before giving them raises? Or raising tariffs and not expecting tariffs to be raised on you? We can’t get straight answers from the White House. We have lost our civility. Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high” well no one is doing that. They go low and we go low and we all get lower together.
Maybe it’s just me but this Independence Day doesn’t feel right. I don’t feel like celebrating America’s greatness because I don’t see anything great about America. HOWEVER, I do feel encouraged by Americans. Here’s what I mean, for all the foolishness we see coming from both sides of the political isle, we are seeing Americans come together for each other. We still donate when a natural disaster hits, we still save each other lives in times of tragedies, we still offer to help each other despite our politics. Now if we can just get these weirdos to stop calling the cops on black people for selling bottled water, cutting grass, swimming, barbequing, or just dancing – I would have a lot more to be happy about.
Enjoy your 4th.