I love the Fourth of July. It’s one of my favorite holidays. As someone who writes about politics from the left side of the political spectrum, it’s easy to be labeled “anti-American”, “america-hating”, “unpatriotic” or a host of other labels meant to define me in opposition to my nation. The fact is that I am not overtly patriotic. I’ve discussed it before. I don’t display a flag. I don’t believe in American Exceptionalism. I believe that our country has commited wrongs throughout its history and that we continue to do so. These things are not a secret to my readers.
But here’s the other side of the coin. I criticize my country because I love it. I believe that our country is great and has the potential to be greater, to form that more perfect union that is the goal of our Constitution. It’s easy to become jaded by politics. It’s easy to believe that corporate money has irretrievably robbed us of government of, by and for the people. But I don’t believe that. I believe that it’s still our nation, that our best days are still ahead of us, and that we have it within ourselves as a people to make the decisions that we need to make to prosper and to continue to be a beacon to the world.
I want to take a minute to share some of my previous posts on patriotism and what it means for me to be an American.
A poem about the feelings that I get in Washington DC.
A poem about immigration.
Some thoughts about Memorial Day.
Of course, we can’t forget fireworks.
So, everyone, please have a safe and happy Independence Day. Please never give up on our nation. And please, whatever your politics, however busy you are, please try to find a way to make our world a better place and then do it. That kind of quiet patriotism in the daily lives and local communities of ordinary Americans is a huge part of our nation’s greatness. It speaks louder than all the brass bands and it resounds more powerfully than all the fireworks our nation can muster.
Happy Birthday America!