Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, America

I'm not one of those people who wears her patriotism on her sleeve. I don't own any flag pins or patriotic t-shirts. I don't fly a flag. I've never once uttered a phrase like, "Love it or leave it." I never copy and paste the pro-America Facebook statuses that my friends often implore me to do. Being a liberal, I'm sure it would be easy to even question my patriotism since I've never been shy about voicing my disgust with choices made in the government. Yes, I get frustrated. I get angry.

And yet, I am a patriot.

Flaws and all, I love this country. I love that I get to wake up every morning and make choices that others don't get the opportunity to make. I love that I have opportunities available to me regardless of my gender, skin color, or religious beliefs. I love that I can say what I think without fear. I love that I am protected from tyranny. I love that I live in a nation where culture can thrive, where intellect can prosper, and where choices are abundant.

As you celebrate the birth of our nation today, I encourage you to think about what an amazing thing this birth was 234 years ago. A group of people decided that enough was enough and sat down and created an amazing document -- the Declaration of Independence. Click that link and read that document and think about what a bold and brave thing these men did. They stared into the face of the most powerful nation in the world (the U.S. of its time -- perhaps even mightier) and said, "Fuck you!" They had had enough of the King's tyranny, and they had an idea that maybe they could create something better. When push came to shove, they just wanted to live their lives freely and not have to wake up worrying what new hassle the King would present them. They wanted to govern themselves and not be subjected to the whims of the King. They wanted independence and so they sat down and declared it. Not only that, but they had the balls to actually sign their names to what could easily have become their own death sentence. They were willing to lose everything -- their lives, their fortunes, and their honor -- in order to insure freedom. It's a thing of beauty, and I never fail to get a lump in my throat when I read those words and think about the hope that emanates from every word on the page -- the hope that things will get better.

Today, I will spend my Independence Day the way many Americans are. I'm going to go to a movie. I'm going to grill out with some friends. I'm going to watch fireworks. But I'm also going to spend a little time thinking about the amazing, courageous, rebellious spirit that ignited 234 years ago and made it possible for me to do all those things. Let's keep the hope alive that we can continue in our pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness for many more years to come.

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