Go fo(u)rth. . .
It is almost the 4th of July, and from where I sit, who needs fireworks? Though I’ve always loved the pow, pow, pow of dazzling red, white and blue bursts in the skies, there’s been more than enough loud booms and flashes of light over the past few weeks to satisfy anyone’s craving for Independence Day razzle dazzle.
So, I’m hoping for a quiet 4th, time for Americans all to enjoy time with family and friends, head to the beach or mountains, or stay home and throw a baseball around with the kids and a couple of steaks on the fire. What we need is a respite from the sturm und drang and time to reflect and renew.
The world remains a dangerous place, as the violence of the past month all too sadly reminds, at home in Orlando where a crazed, homophobic gunman mowed down a crowd of Saturday night revelers at a gay nightclub and then just the week after, in Turkey when suicide bombers blew up another 40 some innocents at the Istanbul airport and in Israel when a young girl was savagely murdered in her bed by a hate filled Palestinian with a knife.
And the world is a fractious one, when we are most in need of civil discourse and reasoned dialogue that probes the conditions that provoke such heinous acts — confronting terrorism, controlling the proliferation of guns — at home and abroad. Here, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, the presidential campaign sizzles on with overheated rhetoric that continues to enflame as Donald Trump gives voice to what so many Americans leave unsaid, keying into anger and resentment that can lead to the troubling xenophobia and nativism that surely panders to our basest instincts and undermines what our country stands for. Across the globe, as nationalism rears its ugly head, similar voices stir up fear and antagonisms that play on divisions of class, race and religion, that seek to build walls and keep others out who may be different, who may seek to get their own modicum of security and stability, their own piece of the pie, or of their hopes and dreams.
So it is at this time of the year that I look to my undying optimism as the flags whip in the wind and the words of the Declaration of Independence echo. The evident truths that our founding fathers drew on in their fundamental faith that humankind, with God’s help, could prevail. That we could create a government of the people,by the people and for the people, that would allow liberty, equality and justice to flourish. Such evidence is self evident in the recent workings of our courts, with conscientious efforts by our Supreme Court justices to tussle with issues ranging from immigration to abortion to affirmative action, even as there is still much work to be done. That our system as riven by partisanship and rancorous debate, still holds.
And even, as we watch the Brits, wrangle with Brexit, and the ramifications of the conflict between those who want to leave the EU and those who want to remain, I stand proud that as Americans, we have not, and will not, either turn away or deny change.
It is not in our character to leave, or to remain, but rather, as our forefathers sought to conquer this wilderness that was, and is, America, to go forth.