Independence Day! I remember when I was kid that you could not go down the street and find a house decorated for the Fourth of July. Flags were everywhere, fireworks cracked all day (even if your State didn’t allow the “good” ones), and pride was abundant. Music from the Boss, Lee Greenwood, and of course our national anthem played on the radio and from cassette tapes (ugh, showing my age a little). There was a feeling of authenticity, joy, strength, and community. Yet, in just a few years’ time, it somehow has felt like the pride is waning. The fireworks and celebrations are more about drinking and partying, loud music (sometimes obnoxious music), and other unpatriotic themes.
It is supposed to be a day of celebrating a declared break from tyranny with stated grievances addressed to King George III, not one of debauchery and shallow commercialism. It is a day for us as Americans to come together to celebrate the strongest and longest surviving republic, an experiment as well, that exists today. However, in our world so grossly suckled to the teet of the media and social networking, all you hear about is how independence has been attacked, marred, and broken by this party or that party. It has become a plaything of the politicians to tug at your patriotic heartstrings in an effort to further divide us, and yes, conquer us. It has become a day to coax your money from your wallets and purses, get drunk on drinks and material purchases.
I find it sad. I find it pitiful. We, the People, have allowed the politicians, media, and technology to polarize us past our patriotism. They have succeeded to a great extent, my fellow Americans. When was the last time you sat across a table, a real one, with a patriot from “the other party” and had a sensible, calm, and rational discussion about something? Can you do it? Could you sit and discuss the state of the Union and major issues facing us all without arguing or attacking the other person? If you have a dispute with a neighbor, family member, or friend, try walking over to them and making whatever amends are necessary. Try to understand that they have an opinion and if it is different from yours it doesn’t have to mean they hate you, or that you cannot get along. We need to come together, more now than ever before, because the divisive nature of our politicians and the media will only get stronger if we don’t put them in check. Let’s do this!