The glories of our country are not few. They are, in fact, quite the opposite. But we have lives and those lives are relentless. Work, grocery shopping, soccer practice, premium cable, fish sticks. Our dance cards are full.
But let’s be real for a second here. America is awesome. Like historically, remarkably awesome. It’s a turducken, but the chicken is freedom, the duck is democracy, and the turkey is Will Smith. If that doesn’t make your blood run red, white, and blue then you’ve probably never had maple syrup in your life. Or you’re Canadian, which is cool too.
We take so much for granted. Our lives are air-conditioned. A chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage. That’s a crazy dream of a utopian future for most of the world, but that’s America…since 1928.
Through good times and bad, capable administrations and bumbling hives of high-ranking idiocy, Republicans and Democrats, we are always America. Unfortunately, we get caught up in our (legitimate) differences and allow these media-propelled cultural battles to dominate our consciousness. United we stand, but sometimes it seems we prefer to be divided.
So it becomes necessary to remember that the core ideals of our society are not the same as the hot-button issues of the day. They are the things that the parents of our great grandparents were born into or embraced when they proudly chose to come to these golden, glittering shores. Our rights are, inalienably, our rights. The prescience and humility of our forefathers combined to produce our Constitution and the eternal ability to amend it as modernity requires. That is no small feat.
The Fourth of July should be a day to press pause on our contentious daily dialogue. We should relax with friends and family and take a moment to consider the enormity of the freedoms we treat with such indifference.
I’m sure some people out there do this. But most of us just get sunburnt and drunk and blow shit up. Trust me, I’m not throwing stones here. I’m well aware that I live in a gigantic glass house that’s filled with domestic beer, exotic fireworks, and a July 5th headache that threatens to split my head open like a ripe, pulpy melon.
But this is America, the Land of Second Chances. If you partied your way through a recreational gauntlet of backyard barbecues and cannonball contests this past Wednesday, take heart. Though our Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776, and appeared in the local newspaper shortly after, it wasn’t until four days later that its message was proclaimed to the world.
On that day, the Liberty Bell was tolled and sang her message sweetly. A curious crowd assembled at her feet, hopeful but hardened by war. Col. John Nixon of the Philadelphia Committee of Safety stood before them, unfurled his parchment, and read the words that would change the world forever.
This Sunday, July 8th, celebrate the 236th anniversary of the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence. Crack a cold beer, sit quietly for a moment, and bask in the glory of your unfettered freedoms. You’ll be glad you did.
Giving yourself a quiet moment of repose to conceptualize and appreciate everything encompassed by the phrase, "I’m proud to be an American"? Now THAT’S a reason to drink!