While the state of California may literally be on fire, the rest of our nation is too, at least figuratively. The Muslim Ban was ruled constitutional, immigrant children still haven’t been reunited with their parents, central American women seeking asylum from the brutal forces of gang violence and rape are no longer welcome here, and, to top everything off, Justice Kennedy is retiring and taking with him LGBTQA rights, women’s reproductive rights, Affirmative Action, and almost any sign of social progress we’ve made since the 1950s.
Oh, and the trade war. Can’t forget about those tariffs!
So, naturally, I’m experiencing some cognitive dissonance about the fourth of July, because:
a) I’m not exactly proud of my country right now, but…
b) I like making things go boom.
So what’s going through my mind this fourth of July? The ACLU’s motto: Dissent is patriotic. This fourth of July, I am going to be a patriot. I am going to celebrate my right to protest, to dissent. I am going to continue to rally my forces and focus on what I can do for my country. I will put my energy into supporting the rights of immigrants, women, people of color, and the LGBTQA community. I am going to continue to be an informed citizen. I am going to celebrate my right to vote, my right to express disgust and dissatisfaction with my country. Because that is what a patriot does. A patriot sees a beautiful potential for their country and fights tooth and nail to get it. I am angry that this country is marginalizing so many people, myself as a woman included, but I believe my country can do better. Because if I didn’t see some greatness in my nation, if I didn’t see a horizon of new possibilities and acceptance, if I saw nothing in my country at all, I wouldn’t be fighting so hard.
So this Independence day, I’ll fight for the rights of myself and others. And, hell, I might even set off a few fireworks too.