Sunday, July 5, 2020

History Lessons: We The People - Our Independence Day

I had an awesome Independence Day with my "family" in Casper. A steak BBQ (cooked to perfection) with the most awesome potato salad...chips and dip...strawberry shortcake for dessert...and, of course, a 4th of July in Wyoming wouldn't be complete with out fireworks/firecrackers! These are the things memories are made of...past and present! I felt like a kid fireworks in the street, watching the teens light fireworks for the first time (yep, we were "those neighbors", LOL!). Makes me so happy to be living back home. 

Independence Day means a lot to me as an individual with a mixed heritage, both Native and Immigrant. Every year I ponder upon whether or not America has become the kind of country our Founding Fathers would've truly wanted it to be, and I often hesitate to answer that...because their very dream of "a Perfect Union" seems to have become more of a nightmare these days, and it saddens me.

Election years always complicate things for me as a Moderate voter, and as I drove back home from Casper to Riverton, my thoughts turned to that very hope and vision our Founding Fathers had. The monarchical rules and laws that were broken...the aristocracies and politics that were born and escalated...the blood that was spilled...the prices that were paid. I think of the very opening line of the Declaration of Independence: "We The People..." and I stop right there.

We...the People.

What kind of "People" have we become? Where are our consciences, our minds, our hearts? Have we forgotten our histories so much that we deny and rewrite history to our own liking? Are we so focused on trade, power and the almighty dollar that we forget that so much has always been thrust upon the weary backs of those who have and still are paying the price?

We talk about slavery as if it's non-existent...but it most certainly is not. It is, and has always been, alive and well. We are all slaves! We are not free...we are all still bound to the gods of money, greed, power and control. Those at top still care nothing about those who dwell within the prisons of "the bottom line". Problem is, we've just accepted it...downright "Stockholm Syndrome"-accustomed to it. Those who fight for true liberty and freedom are ridiculed or silenced. Those who are blinded by it, gravitate towards it for the sake of their own survival. As human beings for tens of thousands of years, we do have this innermost desire for peace; however, the hope and vision of our ancestors and forefathers has become a mere illusion.

But we still celebrate holidays and Solstices...birthdays and anniversaries. Why? Because of our Conservative or Liberal party affiliations? No. Because our skin is red, yellow, black or white? No. Because religious traditions, doctrines and beliefs dictate that we must? Still, no.

We do it because it comes down one thing: Hope.

We hope for something better. We hope for future generations, that they'll do it better than we did. In our pursuits of life, liberty and happiness, we hope for a better peace and prosperity for all of our tomorrows.

Have we failed? many times. But is there still Hope?

Ah yes, there's always Hope! The other day, I was thinking about "do overs". If I could "do over" a few things in my own life, would I? To tell the truth, I'm not entirely sure. Some things, yes. Others? No...because I experienced valuable lessons on my Journey that I may not have learned otherwise. However, no matter has always been The Nouns - the People, places and things - that I allowed into my life, yet also had to let go in order to learn those valuable order to form a more Perfect Union of my own heart, mind, body and soul.

What if America could push the "reset" button? Do overs? How would we do it different than our Founding Fathers? Would we allow people to divide into political, economical or social parties? Tories and Whigs? Conservatives and Liberals? The Haves and the Have Nots? The Christians and the "Non-Believers"? Would all lives matter? Would we allow any type of slavery, in any way, shape or form?

In the grand scheme of things, how necessary have these divisions been in achieving [some sort of bizarre, chaotic] "balance"...and just how has that been working for us? Yeah, not so great.

United we stand; divided we fall...and great will be the Fall. We let so many little things divide us...whether we should or shouldn't wear a mask...whether we vote our party...whether we're Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, Agnostic, Pagan......whether we're straight or gay, red, yellow, black or white...whether we eat meat or are vegans...whether we are rich, poor or middle class. Etc. etc. If all humanity were wiped out by aliens in huge spaceships, or by a tiny virus invisible to the naked eye...what would it all mean, in the grand scheme of things?

I'm just going to leave that question out there for you to answer, and on that note, I will end today's blog post with a quote in the movie by "President Whitmore" (Bill Pullman) from the movie "Independence Day":

"Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world, and you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind.

Mankind.That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom.

Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from annihilation. We're fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice: We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive!

Today we celebrate our Independence Day!"

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