Independence Day is this Saturday. Covid19, and the recent surge in infections here in Texas, has put the kibosh on any civic celebrations. Also, given the air of civil unrest and behavior of government officials, celebrating our country might not be too high on anyone’s list of things to do.
I am here to tell you, even more so, we need to celebrate this country and its symbols, and I’ll tell you why.
I have never associated the American flag, our monuments, our anthem, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution or any other symbols or documents of our country, with the actual people who govern it. If you associate the people who govern with the ideals set forth by those who wanted to be free, you will be disappointed daily. In fact, the spirit of those very symbols is greater than their authors, if you look at the lives of those founding Americans.
Those symbols and documents represent something much greater than any given snapshot of where we are as a country. They represent the ideals and aspirations of where we need to be and it falls on the governed, us, to hold those in power to be accountable to act in the spirit of those ideals. When they fail, we get another shot to put someone in that will hold true to them.
But when we ourselves forget what those symbols and documents represent, how are we to hold those accountable, who govern us? We have taken away the power of our symbols of freedom and treated them as representatives of the actions of flawed people. We have failed to teach our children what they mean and what we need to do to uphold those ideals. What is worst, we have failed at applying these ideals of freedom to everyone. We have allowed our government and a good chunk of fellow Americans, to value only their version of freedom. They believe they are being “Americans”. No, real Americans preserve the rights of others to practice freedom even when we hate what they have to say or do. We need to give a higher value to those acts and understand that is what our symbols represent.
Are we there yet? Hell no, people still are not free like others, but we do a disservice to ourselves and those who look at us to set examples, by not celebrating those symbols. Celebrating these symbols is not an acceptance of where we are but a proclamation that we are not done but we have a goal; we need to strap and snap up and do work.
This is why, my friends, we must stand for what we believe with the flag wrapped around us like a suite of armor rather than beneath us like a door mat.
This is my opinion and maybe I watched too many Frank Capra movies or paid too close attention to Schoolhouse Rock, but I believe this to the core, and I have taught my children to believe this as well.