Thoughts on the Fourth: Independence Day for All of Us (Write Every Day 29)

Just two days shy of my 30 consecutive writing day goal and I’ve managed to stay away from politics. Mostly. It’s not that I’m shy of tackling politics, but since this is my blog, I’ve wanted it to reflect a bit of the ideal — an ideal world where I can hang out without the stress of a government gone awry.  But today, Independence Day, begs me to step into the fray.

I’ve just finished reading Naomi Klein’s book No Is Not Enough and I cannot get it out of my head.  Having written The Shock Doctrine, Klein shows how the use of “shock” has gotten us to where we are today,  and how this is not nearly as bad as it can get.  She scares the bejeezus out of us first, and then she shows us what we can do.

How do I respond to books like Klein’s?  I can’t sleep.  Insomnia hits and I try to solve the world’s problems between midnight and morning. Last night, my head was spinning with what I would write here.  Could I just ignore the whole Fourth of July thing — you know, independence, liberty — the fight against tyranny?  Or am I obligated, as a citizen of the United States — a country I love and call home in spite of its faults — to speak out?

I’m speaking out.

Our founding fathers fought against tyranny and oppression.  After risking everything — EVERYTHING — to fight for their rights, they crafted a document that would stand the test of time, one that would be the foundation for a better country.  This document, the Constitution of the United States, should be taught and studied.  We must teach that it is a living document which has always offered a prism through which to see our growing nation.  I don’t believe it suggests that our country stay the same — but rather that we apply the ideals set forth as a guide to how to be a better nation.  Much like raising children: you have the ideals that guide you as a parent, but the structure of life changes as the kids get older. Rules must be tweaked. Our response to life, still guided by our principals and ideals, changes.  It has to. Or the kids revolt. But back to our country . . .

Turn on the evening news and you’ll see that our country has run amok.

I question whether anyone living and working in the White House today has studied the Constitution? Do they even care about it?

We are living in dangerous times.  Our republic elected a man who is clearly not fit for the office, one who is so narcissistic and controlling that he is systematically dismantling the foundations this country was built on.  He has no curiosity about the world or its people, unless it is to line his own pockets.  He is cruel and unstable. Those around him are part of the dysfunction, accomplices in aiding and abetting, apologizing and excusing.  They are enablers of the worst kind. Our country is being battered daily.

It’s time to rise up.  It’s time to use your voice.  It’s time to fight for our country.

I realized a long time ago, I cannot be silent — because my friends and family, my neighbors and colleagues, my own children and those I teach are being targeted. Whether it’s by stealing health care or deporting families, threatening to establish national registries or denying grandmothers entry to this country where they can be cared for by their children, our government has chosen darkness over light.

Newsflash:  Light wins.  Always.

But it’s up to each of us as to how much damage is wrought before the light. How much time will we spend between the hours of midnight and morning, in the darkness, wringing our hands, before dawn breaks.

So today, on the Fourth of July, I urge you to gather with your family and friends . . . talk to those who have a different political view with the goal of getting to know each other.  If you fear the other, seek them out and offer a hand in friendship.  Give something back to your community — your tiny piece of the world — make that place a better place.  Then, invite someone from across the aisle to break bread with you.  Ask lots of questions.  Listen. Listen more.

Then, grab your markers and poster board . . . make a sign that loudly demands a better world.  Hold hands with your new friends and stand firm against anyone who tries to scapegoat them.  Dream a better, more inclusive, caring country — one that is full of light and hope.

*Not that there’s anything in it for me, but please do read Naomi Klein’s new book.  You won’t be sorry.

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