This week we celebrate our independence. I wonder if they knew back then that America would become the most powerful country in the world? I also wonder what they would think now. I am and have always been extremely proud to be an American because luck led me here. I was not born here but adopted by American citizens who not only gave me an amazing family and home but also American citizenship. I am forever thankful.
Now I find myself in that awkward place, for the first time in my almost 42 years of life, where I am concerned (or frightened to be honest) about America’s future and worry that the beacon of light she has represented since explorers first stepped on her hallowed grounds is being diminished every day.*
* Yes, I am well-aware what we did to Native Americans, which is a story for another time.
And yet … even though I spend a portion of my day running around my apartment yelling over something stupid Emperor Baby Fists did or tweeted, I remember how resilient Americans are. How we float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. How people underestimate us and call us — spoiled, selfish, entitled, uncaring — and how we rise up to prove them wrong.
Why I’m Proud to Be an American
“Because at least I know I’m free” … c’mon, admit it. You were singing it underneath your breath too. But freedom is the answer.
Free to Speak My Mind
I am so grateful to live in a country where I can speak my mind. To be afforded the ability to have civil discourse with someone (harder these days but still possible) without being afraid of death or prison. I am free to express my own opinions, thoughts and beliefs. Others may challenge mine or I theirs and both are possible because we live here.
Free to Be Me
I don’t give two figs about your race, religion or sexual orientation. All I care about is whether you are a good citizen of the world, which is determined by the actions you control versus the things you don’t. While there are still pockets (and sometimes large pockets) in America where people do choose to hate those who differ from them, many people celebrate diversity and welcome all.
Free to Create Change
America, by all accounts, is still a baby — a toddler at best. And some days, we throw tantrums and screw-up. Royally. But we also change because we, as individuals, force that change. We educate, we cajole, we protest, we expose lies and myths and most importantly — we grow and forgive. America is always changing, always evolving and even though it may feel like we’re going backward right now, it won’t last. Sometimes, it must get dark before the light shines again.
Free to Pursue the American Dream
America is the land of dreams and possibilities. Where a homeless girl can become a musical superstar. An inner city kid can become NBA star. Where you and I can pursue our own version of the American dream, whatever it may be, and achieve it. We are only bound by the limits of our imagination because anything is possible here.
Free to Be that Beacon of Hope
Lady Liberty’s light may be slightly diminished these days, but you and I can still be that beacon of hope for others. To let them know that the great America they heard so much about with her possibilities, endless opportunities and immense strength still exists because it lives in you and me. And them.
Happy Independence Day
Whatever you do on Tuesday, take a moment to really look around and see everyone celebrating this amazing country, regardless of their race, religion and sexual orientation. We have so much in common, including our love for this country and our constitutional freedoms, and those similarities are what bind us together. We are America: The land of the free and home of the brave. Let’s prove it true.
Happy 4th of July! Have a fun and safe holiday. I will be taking the reminder of the week off and will return on July 11.