Happy 4th of July or is it Happy Independence Day? I didn’t think it mattered, as I figured they were interchangeable, however apparently according to a friend of mine, they are not. I learned this because he posted so on his Facebook page.
He posted this:
If you wish American citizens “Happy 4th of July” instead of “Happy Independence Day” you’re a Canadian
Go back to your own country you Hoser
This seems like a terribly hostile post for a day that should be about coming together and being united. I just don’t get it. It seems division and hostility are the tools of choice today and that we’re becoming more and more divided than we have ever been. Facebook for all its wonders in connecting us, is doing a masterful job in dividing us. I mean who hasn’t woken up, read a post and was like; Holy shit! My friend, my Uncle, my daughter, my neighbor, my boss, my coworker believes WHAT???? They are crazy.
Facebook and social media have had an interesting effect on our society. They’ve given voice to our inside voice. You know the inside voice, the voice we’re not supposed to let out. The voice where we keep our thoughts and opinions to ourselves as not to be perceived as offensive or disrespectful. You know the inside voice, the one your mother taught you should never be mistaken for your outside voice.
Well, they’re out now! We can’t put them back. I think that’s why they called them our inside voices, and we weren’t supposed to let them out. ‘Cause once they’re out, you can’t put them back.
So now that our collective inside voices are out, what are they saying? What are our collective inside voices saying?
Here’s my take.
They’re saying America isn’t who she should be; they’re saying America isn’t great. Regardless of what side of the isle the voice is coming from, they are all saying America isn’t great. One side wants to go back to some arbitrary time in the past when we were great. I’m not sure exactly when that is, but they seem terribly excited to get there. The other side is saying America needs to move forward; again I’m not sure to “where” but they are pretty frickin’ certain that we need to get there in a hurry. And you know what, both sides are right. America isn’t a great country. We weren’t great yesterday, we aren’t great today, and we won’t be great tomorrow.
Now before you get your panties too wadded up, let me explain.
America’s greatness or lack thereof has little to do with where we are today, and it never has. America’s greatness isn’t steeped in where are today and what amazing things we’ve accomplished, nor is our lack of greatness steeped in the ills and pains we’ve yet to resolve. America’s greatness isn’t, nor should it be measured in where we are or what we’ve attained but rather in our ability to improve and grow.
America was formed with the most amazing idea ever conceived by man for its governance; that everyone is created equal, that all men (people) are endowed with inalienable rights, and the right to freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In spite of the greatness of these ideas, America did not represent them upon its birth. Actually, far from it. Our greatness was not cemented on that day, but in all the subsequent days, years, and generations where we acted on those principles inching the country closer to those ideals. Our greatness is our constant, on going desire and ability to embrace and strive toward the ideals of our forefathers, little by little, step by step, from generation to generation we’ve grown. Our greatness is in our commitment to be closer to living to the principles.
America’s greatness is NOT and can not be in what we achieved because there is always work to be done. There will always be the disenfranchised. There will always be injustice. There will always be more work, and that is why we will never be finished, the dream will never be reached.
Our history’s greatness is marked in strides; strides in equality, justice, and freedom. Starting with the bill of rights, America has enjoyed monumental leaps, while other times baby steps, but in the end, progress has always been the hallmark of our greatness. Every generation has had more freedom and more opportunity than the generation before it.
Every one of these strides has had its detractors. Americans, who, with all the best intentions and led by the belief that our greatness was in the moment, have battled progress and stood in the path of our growth. From our independence to slavery, to Native American rights, to women’s suffrage, to civil rights, to gay rights, and more, a large swath of our nation have stood steadfast against our mission to bestow the American ideals on all its citizens. They chose instead, to defend the America they knew as the America that should be. They argued America was done, that we were already great, that growth or change was not needed. Thank God, they lost.
They didn’t understand what makes America great. The didn’t understand what we are about. They saw America as a destination and felt we had arrived. We hadn’t.
You see, America isn’t the greatest country in the world for who we are today, who we were yesterday or who we will be tomorrow. America is great for who we CAN BE!
It’s this idea of an America that is never at rest, an America that always seeks out injustice, not safety that defines us. It’s an America that continually seeks to create opportunity, not suppress it that defines us. It’s an America that committed greater and greater inclusion that defines us.
Fear has become a guiding force, and we now find ourselves fighting among ourselves about how messed up America is, whose fault it is and why we have to fix it right away. Sorry people, I have a message for you. America is not messed up. By no means is America broken, not yet anyway. Yes, we have tons of problems. Yes, people are hurting. Yes, we appear divided, but the truth is there has NEVER been a better time for EVERYONE to be American than today. There is more opportunity today than ever before, for everyone. We are living to our creed more today than at any time in our history. However, there is more work to be done, and that is where our greatness rests, in our pursuit of that work.
If you’re looking for the day that America is great “again.” You are looking at it all wrong. America’s greatness is not behind us. If you’re complaining that America is not great and that we are not living to our creed, you too are looking at it all wrong. We will never achieve our creed. We are humans, and therefore so is the soul of this country we call America and we will always have flaws. So if you’re looking for the day we achieve that greatness, you will be waiting a long time.
Where we should be celebrating and cementing our thoughts is on our ability and commitment to evolve, to grow and embrace, one small victory at a time. We should be embracing the idea that the forefathers laid out, that our greatness rests not in who we are, but who we can be. America is not a destination. America is a vision, one that can never be truly achieved. America is an idea, an endless journey of commitment towards an infinite, unreachable goal. America is not, nor can we be a destination and that is where our greatness lies. The minute we accept America as a destination, the light will be snuffed out. We are an idea constantly being strived for. America is a vision of what could be, not what is and that vision is what we must allow to endure.
On this Independence Day or 4th of July, whatever version floats your boat, ask yourself, in addition to our independence, what are you celebrating? Are you celebrating who we are or who we could be? Because, unlike the moniker Happy Independence Day or Happy 4th of July, it matters.
America is not great because of who we are; we are great because of who we can be and our commitment to that American ideal.
We’ve always been great and we must keep striving FORWARD to remain great!
(Oh yeah, on the topic or Happy Independence Day or Happy 4th of July, if you give shit about what OTHER people call it, you are entirely missing the point. Call it what you want, and enjoy the day!)