[above image: in the military, the upside down flag is used as a signal of distress]
With everything going on in our country we should all take a good hard look at what this “holiday” is meant to stand for and whether that is something we want to celebrate at this time. What does it mean to be an American right now? It could mean a lot of things on a personal level, differing from one individual to another. But as a whole, America is in trouble.
Our country was “founded” by people coming to a land that was not their home country, coming to get away from oppression and persecution. How easily some of us seem to forget that fact. Our country’s first settlers invaded and took over land that was not theirs to claim, and pushed out an entire race of people that were living here long before Columbus “discovered” it. American history has been white-washed for centuries, and painted in a light to make these men look like heroes and figures to be lauded for their acts, while the reality is and has always been much darker.
How can any of us, in good conscience, spend today celebrating a country that is committing heinous acts against thousands of people? Or working to strip rights that we have fought decades to obtain? I have, for most of my adult and adolescent life, never been much of a patriotic person, questioning how great this nation really is. There are many things I am extremely grateful for in regards to being an American, and freedoms I may not be afforded elsewhere, but I have also done my best to look with a critical eye to make sure I wasn’t too complacent, or complicit.
At this point, we are looking at the imminence of the overturn of Roe v. Wade, legislation that has been nothing short of life saving to anyone seeking available options when it comes to pregnancy. To overturn this ruling would set us back over forty years, which is a setback we cannot afford. We can’t afford to return to a time of people dying from illegal abortions, improper healthcare, and the shame and stigma attached to these issues that we have fought tooth and nail to overcome.
There are still thousands upon thousands of children being split apart from their parents and families, while being shipped all over the country and held in facilities for indefinite amounts of time. There are a few thousand children that have just been essentially lost and the government is doing nothing to change or fix it, much less admitting that they have made a grave mistake.
I won’t sit here and pretend to know everything about these issues and what’s going on, and I also won’t lie and say I know how to fix any of it. There is so much going on, even more than I’ve covered here, and I think we are all really at a loss right now, and it’s scary because there is so much that needs to be fixed.
Every American should be outraged at what Trump does in our name and actively resist by whatever means available. Why we need to pay attention, reclaim our democracy, and ensure that America emerges from this collective nightmare as a nation we can be more proud of tomorrow than we were yesterday.
The moral arc of the universe does bend toward justice, but only if we stand together in moments of crisis and bend it ourselves.
America isn’t without flaws or dark chapters, but wallowing in those mistakes doesn’t advance the cause of freedom or human dignity. We must acknowledge the past and learn from it, but our task here in the present is to accept responsibility for the future and, through our actions, continue to perfect the union.
Our nation may not be living up to the aspirations or values of the American people right now, but without it the world is a much darker place.
Sure you could look at my non-participation in the fourth of July as some sort of act of political protest, but it is also an act of self-preservation and sheer lack of patriotism or pride in my country. As Americans, we should be more critical than ever, the government and current administration should be ashamed…and all of this and so much more is why I’m not celebrating America today.