… on independence (mine… okay and ours)


Sometimes in the midst of the everyday we find ourselves mired in the little picture and, if it seems grim, we believe in the grim.

If enough voices are shouting or announcing or reporting enough crappy stuff, we believe in the crappy.

We begin to anticipate the yuck, the discomforting, the anxiety-provoking.

And we tell ourselves… things have never been worse.


Back up.


Back. The fluck*. Up.

There are people all over this planet, so many who are still alive in this country, who would shake their head in projected shame, and come honestly – and by their own experiences – to the point of laughing in our American faces if we were to say to them, straight-faced, that America is a horrible place to be. Or that this is the worst time in history to be an American.

Yes, sure, right now there is a profound political divisiveness in the country. No ‘side’ is immune from bad behavior. Each ‘side’ thinks the other is behaving worse.

And each is certain they are right.


Because that’s never happened before.

I read a story where someone said they were not celebrating the Fourth of July this year because there was nothing to celebrate.

They also added that patriotism is a conservative ideal.


(That was what my brain screamed.)

Patriotism is a conservative political ideal?


So. I grew up in a democratic (as in capital D democrat), blue-collar family. My father was a truck mechanic and my mother, once she became a single mom, worked her way up to a union card-wielding secretary for a local community college. So, while I was living that life, we would all head to the Forth of July parades, and wave our little flags, and thank our soldiers as they…wait.  Is this guy implying that…

We were fake patriots?!


Or maybe it’s a little darker than that.

Is patriotism supposed to be a sentiment we only whip out when things are going the way we want them to?

Screw all that has come before – maybe even minutes before – if it doesn’t mesh with our idea of how things should be?


We are a country, that – at our core – is really a big, honkin’ amassment of humans, guided by some fairly fantastically crafted principles that have held up – with relatively few shifts and changes for, like…. math is happening… 240 years.

And also?

We get to vote.

Do we live in a perfect country?

Uh. No.

But all we need to do is tippy toe back up to the first description in the paragraph above (I’ll go get it and paste it here so you don’t have to scroll back up):

We are a country, that – at our core – is really a big, honkin’ amassment of humans…

Did you get that?


A whole bloomin’ heap of them.


You have siblings?

A job in a place with two or more employees?

Ever been assigned a ‘group project’ at school?

News flash: Humans do not always play well with other humans.

We are sometimes rather awesome at working together. But then, sometimes, we are not.  Most of the time we are kind of paddling around, thrashing about here and there, somewhere in the in-between.

And this is when we are attempting to work with our colleagues, friends, immediate and extended family members… church members, clergy, a cranky clerk at a grocery store… and even with that super nice neighbor who needs something on a day that just one more thing to give feels like a  little too much.

We aren’t perfect.

As an individual I am not.

And, nope, you are not either.

And that’s okay.

Ups and downs are going to come.

Sometimes we will head, collectively, in the wrong direction.

Sometimes we will divide ourselves into badly-behaved factions and not even pay attention to the bigger picture.

Sometimes we will even de-humanize our fellow humans (which seems to always land us in the pickle juice).

But, c’mon.

Not celebrating the Fourth of July because it’s other Americans’ holiday? The ones who I think are getting their way when I am not getting mine?

Not thinking, or saying out loud, “Wow… 240 years ago, people I will never know set an independent course to create an independent, free nation.

What a gift from those who sacrificed so much.

Look at all we’ve done, and learned, and continue to learn…

I’m going to pause and take some pride in the fact that we Americans – as individuals and as a whole – can raise our voices in protest and in celebration and, yep, in prayer pretty much when and where and how we want to… and I’m going to add gratitude to that pride, realizing how many around the world cannot do any of these things freely.

I’m going to acknowledge the fact that there are so many of my fellow humans who cannot even vote.

Is it not a wonder – the fact that so many people – men, women, and children – from far away places still want to come here, fleeing whatever is happening in the countries that they call ‘home’?

We are so fortunate.

Yes, even now. Even today.

Again, eschewing the celebration of the birth of our country because I don’t agree with politicians, or some of my fellow Americans?

Spare me.

And while you’re at it?

Hand me a flag.

Thanks for readin’.

As always, come on over to Just Ponderin’s Facebook page to comment.

*fluck was my daughter’s first attempt that the ‘f-bomb’. It always seemed like ‘f-bomb lite’ to me and, since I rarely utter that word myself, I kind of like it.