Happy 4th of July Friends!
For us Americans, the celebration of our independence from Great Britian, which was arguably ratified on July 4th 1776, is a beloved day of patriotic debauchery and family shenanigans. Many will enjoy fireworks, parades, barbecues, picnics, family, and political speeches and ceremonies today.
For me, the idea of independence and the space that designation provided for the United States to actively pursue a new political and social experiment, has proved essential in our evolution over the past 200+ years. Building upon a fundamental belief that we are all created equal and hold unalienable rights has lead to beautiful improvements in the lives of our citizens -- and even beyond as we have modeled and stood up for these values at important times in global history.
This is not to say that we have been without folly or error in action or judgment, but a day like this is ideal for meditating on the positive changes we benefit from today. Essential benchmarks such as expanding the right to vote, equal access to government and public facilities, reduction if disease, reduction of workplace discrimination, safer food and water, better air quality, increased access to healthcare, better veteran support, better nutrition and less hunger, more access to higher education, more stable economic markets, protection for natural spaces and species, space exploration, better treatment of hazardous waste, and more government transparency and accountability. Quiet a lot to be proud of.
I'm a product of this great county -- the edge of it anyway. Being a left-coast raised islander, I tend to lean toward a progressive view. Sometimes a bit out of touch, but confidently idealistic. I was raised to believe that patriotism is not blind support for all that is done under our flag, but conscious and critical participation in the system. For me, this means holding not only our leaders to a standard consistent with the spirit of our constitution, but to also personally act in accordance with these ideals.
On this auspicious day, I will be especially mindful of my duties -- most important of all, to embody my values and to model the best characteristics of a proud human and American citizen. Today I am especially grateful, kind, open hearted and open minded, and supportive of my fellow humans.
Happy independence day, my friends! Go make some memories and share the good times!