In honor of July 4th approaching, I am choosing this photo. It belongs to my friend Barry who is a true patriot in the purest sense of the word. I rode in this balloon over Chester County on the 10th anniversary of 9/11
We live in a world gone mad. We are on the eve of July 4th, the 241st edition since 1776. On July 4th, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was approved. Originally supposed to have been approved on July 2nd, and John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail at the time:
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
These men (and women) they fought, and bled, and died for our right to be free. They fought, and bled, and died for US, as is all of us in the USA. And where are we exactly 241 years later? Riding the crazy train of hatred and vile political rhetoric and vitriol.
The most patriotic man, ladies and gentlemen, is sometimes the man who goes in the direction that he thinks right even when he sees half the world against him. It is the dictate of patriotism to sacrifice yourself if you think that that is the path of honor and of duty. Do not blame others if they do not agree with you. Do not die with bitterness in your heart because you did not convince the rest of the world, but die happy because you believe that you tried to serve your country by not selling your soul. Those were grim days, the days of 1776. Those gentlemen did not attach their names to the Declaration of Independence on this table expecting a holiday on the next day, and that 4th of July was not itself a holiday. They attached their signatures to that significant document knowing that if they failed it was certain that every one of them would hang for the failure. They were committing treason in the interest of the liberty of 3,000,000 people in America. All the rest of the world was against them and smiled with cynical incredulity at the audacious undertaking. Do you think that if they could see this great Nation now they would regret anything that they then did to draw the gaze of a hostile world upon them? Every idea must be started by somebody, and it is a lonely thing to start anything. Yet if it is in you, you must start it if you have a man’s blood in you and if you love the country that you profess to be working for. ~Woodrow Wilson, Presidential Address at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1914 July 4th
We used to be a country that reveled in our freedoms. We used to be a country that celebrated the individual – and today if we are not the same Stepford carbon copy of what it is decreed somehow, we are reviled?
We have turned into a country where a good young man was arrested as he was in the middle of taking steps to correct his citizenship status that was messed up years ago when he came to the US for refuge from persecution.
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Emma Lazarus (November 2, 1883)
We have turned into a country where young mothers from Chester County like Anna Maciejewska disappear into thin air. She is still missing. She came to the United States for a better life. What has happened to her? Does anyone really believe she would leave her precious child? I don’t think she would, and I don’t know her at all.
We have turned into a country where a young girl on the verge of the rest of her life and a very bright future was shot dead on a Chester County road like she was an old beer bottle for target practice. Bianca Nikol Roberson was 18 years old.
I found out yesterday Bianca Nikol Roberson’s parents are friends of a very dear friend of mine, which once again proves the narrow threads that connect us all to one and other. Bianca will never have her bright future she worked so hard in high school to attain. She will never fall in love or get married or have her own family. (Police released a sketch of her assailant.)
We live in a world where people are trying to politicize the Hate Has No Home Here signs into something ugly.
What I have heard: in Lower Merion Township some conservatives there have taken the position that the signs are hate signs against Republicans. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? I know Republicans, Democrats, and Independents ALL over (including on the Main Line) who have CHOSEN to have a sign, or a bumper sticker or whatever.
Hate Has No Home is NOT about hate. That is nonsensical. And offensive. It is a personal choice to display one’s wish for a better U.S.A. If people can display Love Lives Here signs, why not Hate Has No Home Signs?
I find the premise of a sign promoting peace to be about hate utterly ABSURD. It is just part and parcel of the bobble headed rhetoric tearing the U.S. apart on a daily basis. (I have heard as a result of this that Better Angels will possibly be touching down on the Main Line soon as a result to mediate a dialogue we should be grown up enough to have, but apparently aren’t.)
Hate has no home ANYWHERE. The movement was started by young school children. Are we a country that now will squash independent thinking, free speech, creativity?
We are a nation born of immigrants. We are a nation born of those escaping religious, political, and social persecution. Yet today, the values that formed us as a country, here in the very cradle of liberty we live in, are under siege.
That has to stop. We are destroying what makes us unique as Americans. Extremism has all but destroyed our political system, and now it threatens even the very sociological structure of our country.
In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
We need to stop being a country of sheeple. We need to embrace once again what makes us unique as Americans. We need to celebrate our diversity, our multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi- religious selves. We were not designed as humans to be identical.
In order to preserve, to truly preserve and rebuild what being an American really is about, we need to get back to basics. We need to remember our country’s very history and learn to tolerate the differences in people again. It is unrealistic that we will ever actually love every one we come in contact with, but surely we can relearn the all-American values of tolerance and respect?
We are a people in search of balance in every sense of the word. Become part of the change, not part of the problem. Leave the hate out with the trash on the curb. As a collective people we need to free ourselves from the chains of hatred, and remember the great gifts our Founding Fathers bestowed upon us.
Where liberty dwells, there is my country. ~Benjamin Franklin