I love America. I stand for the national anthem, I believe in the American dream and I think that the declaration of Independence was the single most boss move in history. I love the flag and I support the people’s right to burn it. I love that we are founded upon rebellion and I support our right to do it again if our government ever becomes the tyrannical force that our founding fathers feared it might. I love that we fought for the rights of people who were oppressed for reasons of gender, skin color and sexual orientation. I love that we are still fighting today. I love jazz, and the blues and hip hop and rock and roll and hot dogs and the fact that we made pizza better. I love that ultimately, the story of our people is one of redemption and I love that we may seek it still. Today, we are sorely in need and I love that I believe we will find it.
For the record, my little town of Lander, Wyoming throws the single greatest Fourth of July in the whole country. I was thinking of this today as I watched the news and subsequent response on social media. In Lander, we begin the fourth of July with a parade down main street. The whole town assembles joyously to drink beer, clap at the floats, watch the kids chase candy and get sprayed with water by the fire trucks at the end. Many a beer and sugar buzz is gathered during this event and people then disband to their houses to grill meat, light bottle rockets and await the big show. The magic happens after nightfall when every house literally burns a month’s salary up in smoke and into the sky. A heavy blanket of sulfur wafts through the streets as fire erupts in the sky in all directions.
My neighbors across the street show me up every year but that’s ok. I sit on the trunk of my 63 Impala with my wife and kids watching the sky erupt.
Photo credit, by the way to my great friend, Gabe Adams for the above image of Lander on the Fourth.
I was thinking of this today because it’s such a happy thought in the face of such a sad time. I dont know where we went wrong, only that we did. I see a lot of people dividing themselves into two camps and pointing the blame at the “other.” Personally, I think we’ve been conned into believing that we are our own enemies.
I believe in what if feels like to stare up at that Lander sky on the fourth of July. I believe in a people coming together, despite their differences because they are a community and they respect what is collectively built by hardworking individuals honestly trying to make lives for themselves. This is my America and I believe in it. I ways will.