Independence Day

It’ll be a different celebration this year. No parades. No “bring a dish” large family gatherings. No splashing around at the public pool. Fireworks (maybe) from a social distance. It’ll be quieter, safer, healthier and possibly a little disappointing.

Still, today is America’s birthday. This should be a day to be proud of our great nation.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much to celebrate lately. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to have our nation in it’s grip. Our president is once again crying “hoax”, this time concerning revelations that Russia may have paid bounties to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. And peaceful “Black Lives Matter” protests have turned into opportunities for hate groups to exploit and distort a message of unity and hope.

I pray for my family, especially my father and father-in-law, that they continue to be spared the Corona Virus. I am saddened by the ever-widening political chasm in this country and lack of trust of our elected officials. I worry that my black and brown family members and friends might become victims of someone’s misguided hate.

I wonder what has happened? Where is the love of our neighbors? This is America!

Recently my niece wrote, In a time when everything can seem so bad, let’s not lose focus on the small things that mean so much! Do what is best for your tribe. Stay humble, and enjoy life!”

I found tremendous comfort in her words. This 4th of July weekend we will do just that. We will focus on the small things. We will have a quieter celebration at home this year. We will love one another the best we can. We will call or video call those who cannot be with us. We will avoid the crowds and watch fireworks from afar. We will continue to thank God for our freedom and pray for peace, justice and healing in our nation. We will stand with our brothers and sisters of color. We will be humbled, once again, to be called citizens of this great nation. We will wave our flags. We will vote.

And when we tuck ourselves into bed tonight, we will rest in the comfort of knowing that our small tribe has made a difference.

Peace,

Denis

Let Freedom Ring

I love my country. I’m proud to be an American. Other countries are wonderful and my life has been enriched by having visited many of them, but they are not home. Home for me is Midwestern, friendly, small town, hard-working, fun-loving, flag-waving, hand-holding, good-timing folks who care about their neighbors, love their families, and lend a hand to those in need. We pray for one another. We celebrate our joys and share our sorrows.

Yesterday in the United States we celebrated Independence Day. And so our great nation celebrated another birthday. That’s right! Our country is great. It has ALWAYS been great. It doesn’t need to be made “Great Again”. Once great; always great! Even with a Commander-in-Chief who seems to possess the intellectual maturity of a six year-old, we remain a great nation. I’m sorry. That statement is actually an insult to most of the six year-olds that I know. We need not define ourselves as a nation by the lowest common denominator. Trump and many of his key policies are very unpopular around the globe, and ratings for the U.S. have declined steeply in many nations, according to polling by the Pew Research Center. However, America still wins praise from other nations for its people, culture and civil liberties. Therein lies our greatness.

Independence Day paradeI am a patriot. But sadly I’m afraid that patriotism has come to represent a pretty narrow political view by some. I don’t believe that God should bless America anymore than God should and does bless all nations. And yet I remain a patriot. To me this is the beauty of being an American. We are a pluralistic nation. We are richly diverse. We can disagree with one another. We can openly oppose the political views of elected officials and vote them out of office. We can peacefully assemble. We can protest. We have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of information.

So I even though I am a progressive and an avid supporter of civil rights and equality for all Americans I remain a patriot. I’ll keep waving my flag and honoring our great nation’s founders whose vision of liberty and justice for all remains with us today. And I will respect and embrace your unalienable right to think that I am completely wrong.

Because this is what we do in The Land of Liberty.

Peace,

Denis

Sweet Land of Liberty

Today is July 4th. In the United States we celebrate Independence Day. As with most national holidays it seems that much of the meaning is lost amidst picnics, parades, backyard barbecues, and fireworks displays. And yet our great country celebrates another birthday.

I like to think of myself as a patriot but lately I’m afraid that patriotism has come to represent a pretty narrow political view by some folks. I’m not a member of the Tea Party. I don’t watch Fox News. I won’t sign any “English only”petitions. And I don’t believe that God should bless America anymore than God should and does bless all nations.

I am however in favor of immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, affordable healthcare, gay marriage, and gun control. And still I remain a patriot.

To me this is the beauty of being an American. We are a pluralistic nation. We are diverse. We can disagree with one another. We can openly oppose the political views of our elected officials and vote them out of office. We can peacefully assemble. We can protest. We have the right to freedom of speech. And my son, who is a member of the U.S. military will defend to the death these rights for you and me.

LibertyWhat makes me a patriot? I love my country. I’m proud to be an American. I’ve traveled the world and, while our nation is not perfect, it is simply the best place for me and my family. Other countries are wonderful and my life has been enriched by having visited many of them but they are not home.

So I even though I am a progressive and an avid supporter of civil rights and equality for all Americans, I am still a patriot. I will be flying my flag proudly and honoring those early patriots whose vision of a nation with liberty and justice for all remains with us today. And I respect and embrace your unalienable right to think that I am completely wrong about my political views.

From every mountainside let freedom ring. I love living in this sweet land of liberty.

Peace,

Denis