Independence Day

american flag
Ah yes, the 4th of July. Here we are once again celebrating our Independence Day, our freedom from the tyranny of the British Monarchy. Taxation without representation and all the other reasons our Founding Fathers had for becoming treasonous led us to our freedom. I’m sure the British King did not see himself as tyrannical and our founders did not see themselves as treasonous. Each had what they believed to be good reasons for fighting. And if it wasn’t for the French and the Native Americans, we probably would have lost the war. But we won, and here we are 240 years later celebrating that glorious past.

The tourists have come to my little slice of paradise. The lake cabins are full, the fireworks are in hand. The grills are smoking and the boats, jet skis, paddle boards, knee boards and water skis are all in use. There will be sunscreen and bug spray, hamburgers and hot dogs and American flags. There will be music and celebrating all across the country. For awhile we will forget our troubles as we gather with family and friends to eat, drink and be merry. Christmas in July. And why shouldn’t we? We need a break from the regular toils of our lives, a time to feel that our regular daily lives are worth something.

It is interesting to look at what we have accomplished in 240 years. We have become what some would call, the greatest nation on Earth. Are there problems? Why, yes there are. Many things need to be changed and fixed. To be the greatest nation on Earth we need to be the shining example of freedom. Of course many would say that we are much better off here than dozens of other countries, and they would be right. There are many who are oppressed by their governments or rebel groups trying to take over. There is much poverty, starvation and disease. Religious groups or those masquerading as religious are trying to control others. They seek power and wealth. And come to think of it, those things are happening here as well.

So by all means, celebrate the day if you choose. And in the coming months leading up to the election in November, remember what freedom means. Oppressing others is not freedom. If you have the right to marry, others should enjoy that same right. If you have the right to be safe in your communities, others must have the same right. If you have the right to make choices about your personal healthcare then others should have that too. If your skin color has never represented something negative in your life then others deserve the same. If you have the right to worship a God in the manor of your choosing then others must have the same right. This is freedom. Our founding fathers fought for the freedom of our country while denying that same freedom to the slaves that they owned, denying that freedom to the Native Americans who were here first. In 240 years we should have been able to improve on those things but it seems that a lot of people are still fighting for their freedom. Remember those people when you vote. If you love your freedom, they love freedom too.

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The Sword Of Freedom

bloody sword
As hands are brushed together, dead bodies fall like dust
and a girl in a dress called freedom whirls and twirls
but makes no sound but the sound of a mothers cry.

With the constitution in one hand and a bible in the other,
flames suddenly leap and turn them to ash and
they blow away on the wind called justice.

Crowds leave the synagogue, cathedral and mosque and file
into the furnace while factories make more furnaces
and governments send more children to burn.

The minds eye is blind and feeling it’s way to find
emptiness and sorrow where love once lived.
Time turns backward to other wars with the same stench.

Liberty’s crack grows wider and the clapper has
disappeared to be replaced by the
sword of freedom, and a mother cries again.

And do we watch with hands folded in laps and on
our knees pray to a god who doesn’t listen? And do
we tell our children that this is righteousness?

As our world disappears in flame and ash do
we wish we had done the right thing? Do we say the
words that will set all to right, or collect our pay?

As the wars rage on and refugees muliply we go to our
jobs with blinders in place and plugs in our ears and
pretend we do not see the girl dancing. And bleeding.

And as she falls to the ground her wounds ooze into
the sand and she reaches out to be picked up but
we turn away, not wanting to get our clothes dirty.

With clean hands and clothes some walk away, but
some stoop to carry away the hurt and their
voices are being heard. Quietly now, but getting louder.