Today is America’s birthday. A great day for celebrations. Parades. Fireworks. Flag waving. This should be a day to be proud of our great nation.
The chilling images of children in detention centers at our southern borders cast a dark shadow over this great day. Meanwhile, in our nation’s capitol, the president is assembling tanks and armored vehicles in a garish display of military might. Mr. Trump is using our troops as political props in a sad attempt to burnish his image as a powerful leader.
This is America! What has happened? Where is our love of mankind?
As a nation have we become so narrow-minded; so entrenched; so chauvinistic; that we can’t accept another point of view? Are we condemned to be living in fear or loathing of our neighbors? We sing “God Bless America” but where is God in all our hateful rhetoric? How do we pledge to be “One Nation Under God” and deny basic freedom and dignity to those in desperate need of asylum? While families are being separated and babies are being torn from their mother’s arms, where are our statesmen and stateswomen?
What can I do?
First of all: instead of wringing my hands and swearing at the television, I will be a patriot. I will wave my flag. I will continue to write to my congresswoman and senators and the president. I will vote. I will debate. I will support candidates who will fight for justice for all. I will stand tall. I will speak up. I will remember that our nation is not perfect. I will celebrate what I can. I will protest what I must. I will pray. And I will remember.
I will remember those who have died to protect our freedom. I will remember that my great-grandparents were immigrants who were welcomed into a strange land with no money, no education and no discernible value or skills to offer. They didn’t speak English. They didn’t have degrees. They probably wouldn’t be welcomed today.
As a nation we have much to do. We have to work to insure our freedom and to guarantee freedom to all who enter here. We can do better! Our children and grandchildren deserve to live in an America that is still beautiful.
Our nation should be celebrated today. It’s messy. It’s imperfect. It’s mine. It’s yours. It’s ours. And it has ALWAYS been great.
“I pray to God that you never have to flee violence or poverty or persecution with your children. And if that day comes that you must and your babies are forcibly removed from your arms, I will fight for you, too.” — Brené Brown