There are many good memories tied to July 4th for me, from days in Boston and going down the Esplanade to the always wonderful small town feel of the Orleans, MA parade, and of course a day of baseball, cookouts, family and friends. This year felt different and it started when I posted in a Facebook group inviting people to join in the Orleans parade with the local Democrats. One person responded, after all that has happened in this country recently, I just don’t feel like celebrating.
I sighed and got it.
I replied to that effect and said I guess there are a couple ways to respond. One is a kind of protest, a feeling of, this just does not seem right in the times we are in. I’m grateful that I read that, that it gave me a chance to stop and reflect. It is something we all need to do more frequently, regardless of political persuasion, have that moment where you challenge your own conventional thoughts and consider the idea that maybe there is another right answer.There often is.
It is a long list of things that for years and years, good people have felt were part of the best of what we can and should be. Most of those under attack , subverted by people with extremist views who have been allowed to take too much power, certainly well beyond the people that share their beliefs. You literally had one Supreme Court seat stolen from Obama and the same reasoning applied to Obama, ignored at the end of Trump’s term, rushing through a far right justice. A country that believes in the processes that served us for a couple hundred plus years, simply ignored.
A country where there is a lack of outrage that a coup attempt was made to overthrow the 2020 election. A country where some people, disassociated from fact, think the election was rigged. I mean, people think this, with no facts to back that up. Millions have lost their minds, believing what a misogynist thief tells them and never going further than that. This too is how democracy fails.
It leaves a country with a Supreme Court more than willing to take away the freedom of reproductive rights, strip the ability of the EPA to regulate the environment, poised to attack the LGBTQ+ community and their rights. Rights that, as with reproductive rights, effect only the people directly involved, not anyone else. Yet that same court mis judgingly rules for guns and weapons, something that very much affects community after community. You know that is true.
You cannot speak about freedom and guns together, of course not! Your freedom ends where mine begins. You can throw a punch in the air, but your freedom to do that stops at my nose. Once there is a clear and present danger, that is not freedom anymore and if you allow that, then it is anarchy. So whatever you want.
Unless you are a woman. A gay couple. A person of color. No, no, no then there are rules and limits. Freedom to vote? Constantly being attacked to make sure that anyone perceived to be a threat to the extremist view, cannot participate in elections. You want freedom, go buy a gun, just don’t try to vote in certain places where the number of places to vote are reduced and requires multiple hours of waiting.
Yet we persevere and fight on. People DID wait and make sure they voted. People are organizing and raising money to make sure any woman that chooses to have an abortion, can do so in a place that it is legal and she will be taken care of. None of these are perfect solutions, but it is part of fighting back. And that takes me back to where I started this. My reply to the person not wanting to participate in July 4th was first I get it, I respect that choice. Personally, I feel a need to show up and be louder than ever, be more motivated, do even one more thing that can make a difference.
Everyone says, there are days I am tired of having to do this. Truth. But there is no other choice. I’ve had family ask me, on multiple issues, what can I do, who is doing something I can get involved with. People who have not paid attention are.
Maybe you sit July 4th out. But you cannot stay on the sidelines.