the nest

the nest

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Day of Independence

The 4th of July is about more than picnics and fireworks ~ like other holidays I think the meaning is sometimes lost in the "fun".
Growing up, 4th of July was a big deal.  My parents love their country and we always celebrated in some way, often with a powerful moment of remembrance in addition to the picnics and fireworks that were always a part of it.  In 1976 I remember going to Fort Snelling in MN with my cousins.  I'm not even sure it was actually on the 4th, but in 1976, the 4th of July lasted for several days!
When our first child was a baby, we went to the fireworks in Boston with college friends and aside from the crush of people, had a great time.  The Boston Pops and the Fireworks were amazing - being with so many others to celebrate our country's birthday was amazing!
What saddens me is that these days I don't feel the same way.  
I grew up feeling incredible pride in my country and I still love it and am thankful that this is my home.  After traveling in Eastern Europe in 1988, I will never take my freedom for granted.
 My children have grown up in a different world than I did.  I know that the US wasn't perfect in the 70's and 80's, but there was a different sense of respect for the overall position of our country and those leading it.  Big mistakes like Watergate, were obviously taken on, but we didn't follow every move every legislator made and they didn't "tweet" everything they did. We didn't OBSESS about our leaders being personally FLAWLESS.  Maybe we did, but knew less because our access to their personal lives was limited by lack of technology.  Perhaps that was a good thing.
We miss out today because some of those who could be incredible leaders choose not to put themselves and their families under the intense microscope we now use to make sure everyone is FLAWLESS.  Why are we surprised then when word gets out that some legislator had an affair, or made some other personal MISTAKE.  By expecting perfection, we have created our own governmental nightmare filled with congressman and senators who portray themselves as FLAWLESS and above it all and therefore in a position to tell us how to live our lives.  We know they are NOT perfect, simply better at hiding their indiscretions and mistakes.
Maybe it's social media, maybe it's because those in positions of power can't get their act together, maybe it's because we spend more time making excuses for why we can't do the right thing instead of just doing the right thing.  Whatever it is, it seems like more often I am disappointed and frustrated with the way things are going.  Our tolerance for personal failings has vanished.  If something someone says 30 years ago can practically destroy a career, why would any of us step out into the limelight?  WE ARE HUMAN.  WE MAKE MISTAKES.  No wonder our children are stressed.
When we as a country could do great things, we spend time trying to take away safety nets from those who need them most because "BIG GOVERNMENT IS BAD."  At the same time ridiculous amounts of time and money are being spent trying to dictate who can love who and what women can and cannot do with their bodies, there is something wrong.  We protect the rights of those who feel they should be able to have as many weapons designed to kill PEOPLE as they want because it's their RIGHT, while we fail to protect the RIGHTS of our smallest citizens as they go to school.  The rest of the time is spent making sure that the "other guy" can't get anything done.  THIS MEANS NOTHING GETS DONE.

I want to be proud of my country and over the last several weeks, there have been more and more reasons to feel like the tide is turning ~ I want that tide to continue.  I want a flood of common sense and good will towards others.  I want tolerance and forgiveness.  I want my children to love their country.  I want good people to lead us even if they have "mistakes" in their past.  Maybe I want them there because they've made mistakes.  I want them to roll up their sleeves and get to work even if it means compromising with the "other guy." I want freedom, but I want us to accept the responsibility that comes with freedom.  Maybe I want perfection???  Nah, that would be boring.

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