Dr. K’s Blog Wishes Everyone A Happy 4th of July!
It’s going to be a glorious day to celebrate, and my head is exploding with excitement. My town has an amazing 4th planned, with a parade, fireworks, a band playing, a reading of the Declaration of Independence. Glorious!
And all the moreso because of recent world events. Look at the valiant struggle of people in Iran to have their votes count. They are willing to water the roots of the tree of liberty with their own blood, much as our founders here in the USA did some 233 years ago. Look at North Korea, threatening to blow us off the map. And why? Because we represent everything their dictator both covets for himself and fears (rightly) from his own people. The freedom to speak. To gather. To make a difference. To choose.
I posted a question on my Facebook page a few days ago. I asked, “Iran and North Korea, how do you think these repressive regimes will come undone?” And Mat Marr, an amazing young man that lives here in my own community of Ashland, Oregon, posted this reply. “Well there are sure a lot less repressive regimes now than 30 years ago. And each tyrant falls in its own way, but they all fail in the end. For some it is 80 years, for some just 8 🙂 ‘The arc of history is long but it bends towards justice’ – MLK”
Wow. Spoken like a real American. Thanks Matt. You give me such faith in our future.
I love my country. Even when I despise the policies of my government (which has happened a few times during my lifetime) I love my country. Even when it’s not popular to be patriotic, I love my country. Like in any relationship, sometimes the love comes easier than other times. But it is a constant for me. I’ve done so much travel in my lifetime. I’ve seen the whole of the USA, and we are magnificent in our natural terrain, our resources, and our people. From the trivial (the world’s largest ball of twine in Cawker, Kansas) to the astonishing (The House of Mystery just up the road in Gold Hill, Oregon) to the sublime (Grand Canyon, Redwood Forest, the Statue of Liberty) we have it all, have done it all, keep doing it all and then finding new and better ways to do it again.
How did we get here? Some say it was the hand of Providence. Some say it was an accident of history. And some say that however we got here, it was at a tremendous cost to so many, from the Native Americans who first trusted, then struggled and ultimately lost almost everything that we might come into being, to the African Americans whose labor gave birth to our potential, to the immigrants whose culture and creativity nurtured our spirit and forged us as one out of many through their blood, sweat and tears.
And some simply give credit to a few brave souls who, for their own reasons, stood up to authority, risked everything to take a stand for liberty against tremendous odds, then applied their best thinking to the design of a free society in order to build a remarkably resilient system capable of absorbing tremendous excess and arrogance and stupidity and still keep bouncing back, better than before. They crafted the founding documents of a society on a mission that constantly demands that we do better.
Through it all, through wars and hunger and conflict, partisanship and perseverance, we have maintained and expanded our freedoms and become more dynamic, inclusive and capable of change. We Americans may disagree on politics and policies (and we do!) but We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, keep rising to the challenge in each generation.
What does the future hold? It’s golden. And the world loves us for it. While the dictators and terrorists fear us, extremists and ignoramuses hate us and demonize us, the vast majority of the people of the world are with us, want us to succeed, and project their own futures into one bound with ours for the greater good.
A favorite quote is from Thomas Paine, whose Common Sense pamphlets inspired our founders. He said, “The world is my country, all mankind my brethren, and to do good is my religion.” To the people of the world I say have faith in us, in U.S., celebrate with us, because liberty isn’t our possession, it’s our mission and our passion, our defining edge. And to my fellow Americans I say this. It’s not a slogan, it’s a fact. In a world where the few can do so much to harm so many, where chains and oppression are the common theme in human history, freedom wasn’t free, isn’t free, and though we love it, it can be lost if we do not preserve and protect it.
For us, for U.S., freedom is the most remarkable gift bequeathed to us by our predecessors. They made the sacrifice that gave us so much opportunity. There are those among us right now who continue to make the sacrifice so that we might enjoy this gift. Let’s honor their memory today. Let’s be grateful to our soldiers who fight to keep us free, our farmers and laborers who work to keep us alive, and our dreamers who keep shining the light on our way forward. Let’s shoulder the responsibilities that accompany our rights, pull together instead of pulling apart, and do the best we can to the best of our ability so that those who follow us will not curse us, but will honor and appreciate us as having kept this American dream alive.
I can’t end this post without referencing one of my favorite cheeseball movies, Independence Day, because it contains one of the greatest speeches I’ve ever heard, given by the President of the U.S. as he’s getting ready to strap on his helmet and jump in a fighter jet to take on the aliens who are trying to destroy the whole earth.
“Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in this history of mankind.
Mankind — that word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests.
Perhaps its fate that today is the 4th of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom, not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution — but from annihilation.
We’re fighting for our right to live, to exist.
And should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice:
“We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive!” Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!”
Happy 4th of July everyone!