Today is the Fourth of July; a national holiday celebrated with parades, picnics, family, friends and fireworks. More specifically, today is our Independence Day. The day the refugees from a tyrannical king crossed the ocean in the hopes of finding one nation, united under God, where all men were created equal. Sound familiar?
As a nation we have come so very far, but now it seems we have hit a roadblock and while it is easy to blame a certain person or a certain political party, I believe the fault lies with all of us.
After centuries of being the most powerful country on earth, we have become complacent. Our national identity has become eroded and the unity we now so infrequently display is disappearing. America united, when it was us against the evils of the world, is becoming hard to find. We are so consumed by the infighting between the left and the right that we have forgotten there is another option – the middle.
The middle is not sitting on a fence, it is the art of compromise where those on either end of the idealistic spectrum give a little so that while some lose a little, even more gain a lot. It is reaching across the aisle to work with those of opposing views for the betterment of the entire country. It’s letting the democratic process work so that when you are outvoted, you graciously accept that the majority felt another way. It’s being strong enough and good enough that you look inside your soul and do what is right rather than what is easy or profitable. It’s remembering that our allegiance should and must be to our country and not to a political party or someone with even more power.
Is this the last Independence Day for the United States of America? Of course not, yet I can’t help but wonder what the future will bring for us as a nation. In the past couple of years, our nation has been tested in ways that should have been unimaginable. We have a good process for making change, yet for many it seems, the process either doesn’t work or isn’t worth the effort.
If you are unhappy with the way this country is going, you have two legal and powerful ways to make change. First, if you think you could make better decisions than those in office, fill out that affidavit of candidacy and plop down your filing fee. Second, and this is something each of us can do at no cost, vote!
Before you cast your ballot, do your research. Remember that not every campaign ad you see or hear is truthful. Remember that just because an incumbent voted against funding for schools, doesn’t mean they are against funding for schools. What else was buried in that massive funding bill that needed to be voted down? Does your chosen candidate truly respect and believe in the issues that are important to you and your family or is it simply that they had flashier ads and a brighter smile?
Finally, remember few candidates if any, will meet all of your requirements. Your chosen candidate will more than likely have a different view of something that is important to you. The challenge for us as voters, is to find the candidate who will work with everyone else in power to find a solution that works– a candidate that will give a little in order to gain a little. The country can’t continue to flip-flop or worse yet, come to a complete standstill every four years, as power switches between red and blue. Progress must continue and the only way to do that is to work together.
As you celebrate today with parades, streamers and flags flying, please remember that democracy is hard work and we can’t take the liberties we have for granted. It takes good people of all points of view to stand up and work peacefully together to make this country strong. We must agree to disagree on some things and celebrate our achievements in working together even when we disagree.
May your Independence Day holiday be fun, but may we all remember what it took to get here.
Be well my friends….