It’s Independence Day and what we most need independence from is our own government. History is full of ironies. Federal holidays falling on a Saturday, for instance. In any case, here we are on the Fourth of July and still stuck under a repressive government that a small portion of people like. Republican groups supporting Biden are starting to arise, but we can only dream on Independence Day. Many of us would like to be independent of the coronavirus, and not a few people are acting like we are. Cases are spiking, so the rest of us are staying indoors. Fireworks are okay, but I have trouble staying awake until dark these days and more often than not they just keep me awake as I’m starting to doze.
Maybe for Independence Day I’ll take leave of reality. Maybe I’ll imagine a government that isn’t so utterly corrupt that some people might have some faith in it. Maybe I’ll dream that black lives matter and that our leaders would believe it. Maybe I’ll think what it would have been like if caring officials addressed the Covid-19 crisis directly instead of brushing it off, so that like all well-run nations cases would be going down here instead of back up. There’s so many possibilities and the one thing they all have in common is that they point to independence from the Trump Administration, if that’s what it can be called. Maybe it’s time to light a sparkler of hope.
Independence Day can be a day of looking forward instead of looking back. If we can look ahead we might see a country where anyone will be allowed to exist and not be condemned by “Christianity.” We can come to see that privileging any one “class” or “race” or “sexual orientation” is a form of bigotry from which we can and should be independent. We can try to think what it must be like to experience life from somebody else’s skin. We can try to understand instead of standing ready to condemn that which is “different.” Fact is, everyone is different from everyone else, it’s only a matter of degree. And difference can unite rather than divide. The whole idea behind uniting different states was that those who were different could support one another and figure out how to make room for everyone to fit. It won’t be easy to do, but we might use today to envision a country where we can work together, and figure out that leaders who bring people together are the only hope we have for the future.