I wrote this and then didn't post it. Thought I'd gotten it out of my system by writing it. But given the events of the last few days I decided to put it out there ...
I am so glad the 4th of July is over. The parades are done. The booms and bangs that have terrified my cats for over a week are gone. We can stop waving the flag for a while. I have to admit to mixed feelings about the holiday this year.
Given all the invective, the hate, the accusations, and ignorance that is spewed on our media --- social and broadcast --- and now tweeted from the highest office in this country --- are we, as a country, as a people, really living up to the values that the country is supposed built on?
Should be be celebrating and sending up fireworks to patriotic songs when the discourse is so nasty? When so many American's would deny other Americans the right to live those "American values" that we celebrate? When having the right to "bear arms" seems to give everyone the right to shoot anyone they don't like or they have an argument with or they are terrified of because of the media frenzy?
Perhaps it's appropriate that in Philadelphia, where it all started, the fireworks (in 2016) were obscured by rain and fog. I'm not there this year. I have no idea what the celebration was like. I came to visit friends who live pretty much "off the grid" in the hills of West Virginia. We have internet but no cell phone service. No fire crackers or illegal fireworks. Just peaceful woods and bird song. Much as this country was before the white men came ...
If you google American values, you get a lot of results. Most of them include the values listed below:
individualism -belief that each person is unique, special and a “basic unit of nature”
equality - open society that ideally treats everyone equally
materialism -a “right” to be well off and physically comfortable
science and technology - values scientific approaches
progress and change - belief in changing self and country
work and leisure -strong work ethic
competition - aggressive and competitive nature encouraged
mobility - a people on the move
volunteerism - belief in helping others (related to equality concept), philanthropy admired
action and achievement oriented - emphasis on getting things done
But what do you hear if you listen to the news, the talk shows, social media?
It seems that people want to celebrate individualism but not if it means your individualism is different than mine.
Equality but only if you are the same color and religion as me.
Being materially successful is great, but only for people who have had all the advantages that you have had in life.
Denying science and pooh-poohing education seems to be in vogue.
And as for a strong work ethic, where are all the Americans who will do the dirty, back-breaking jobs that immigrants do --- picking our food, cleaning our houses, taking care of the kids.
And where is the emphasis on getting things done? Certainly not in Congress.
The benefit and the trouble with all this technology we have access to now is that it gives everyone a voice ... and the voices that we hear the most from are the angriest ones, the ones that yell the loudest and the longest, are the ones on the far ends of the bell curve. It is a yelling match between people on the extremes. I can only hope that as a nation we will come to our senses ... that the majority of American people --- the good, reasonable, kind people who truly live American values and respect every American's right to live American values --- will prevail. I hope I live long enough to see that happen.