Monday, July 5, 2021

Happy 5th of July

Little Cuter went to work on Thursday and we were surprised.  She had the whole month of June off; what was she doing in the office during her vacation?

Mom? Dad?  It's July.

Oops.  Now we are missing months instead of just dates and days of the week.  We were abashed.

Big Cuter and Queen T are going to a 5th of July BBQ today, an event which rankles in my son's brain.  He's never heard of a 5th of July celebration.

Now that we are looking American history square in the face, reckoning with enslavers as Founding Fathers and the return of Jim Crow in our times, July 4th, which used to be unencumbered, is now conflicted.  We are no longer a colony, and that is a good thing.  We do not live up to the Pledge of Allegiance's promise of liberty and justice for all yet, and that is a bad thing.

Am I still allowed to be proud of America?  We are truly a young country - Great Britain was compounded in  935 or 1536 or 1706 or 1800 - and we have growing pains.  Slavery has darkened our history, no matter how much we try to put avoid placing it front and center.  Just look at Nikole Hannah-Jones's treatment at UNC - white donor money spoke pretty loudly in that affair.  

No one likes to dwell in the past.  No one likes to remember the worst parts of their lives.  Therapists teach us how to control those noxious thoughts, now to manage them, how to use them to better ourselves.  We don't seem quite willing to do the same for history, though.  

So, I look at the flag flying outside my front door and I wonder - do all Americans see it the same way that I do?  

Is it a beacon of hope, or a sign that only some are welcome to enjoy it all?  Did the passengers on the SS St. Louis, sent back to certain death in Europe, see it as a snarky salute to freedom for some, but not for them?  Soldiers' coffins are draped in that flag - I have been wondering how people of color who died defending a country that didn't accept them as fully equal feel about that.

These are uncomfortable thoughts, but they are necessary thoughts.  I have a rising 2nd grader in the family.  She loves Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.  July is her favorite month of the year - not only because she and her brother have their birthdays then, but because the 4th of July comes then, too.  

SIR will put on a fireworks display in the street.  Little Cuter alerted the neighbors.  They will celebrate the wonderfulness that is the USofA  with explosions of joy.  

I'll watch fireworks from the front yard and the back yard, tempering my joy with honest assessments of what I am celebrating.  It's a little more complicated..... and, I think, it is necessary.

Between Pandemica and Black Lives Matter, I've had a lot of time to think.  If you have some time over this lost weekend, zip on over to the 1619 Project.  It's time for us to open our eyes to what really happened.  I don't think it needs to damage our vision of a more perfect union.  I see it as a way forward, a reckoning with our past and a commitment to move forward, armed with understanding, to create that shining city on a hill.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!