Happy 246th Birthday America!
Oh so historic, and one of a kind, our nation was formed by a group of men wanting freedoms from the tyranny of a king, and the demands of their homeland for taxation, and economic suppression. I have often thought how it must have been to be alive and witnessing this history in real time. When history becomes personal it has such a greater depth of insight.
I have always loved history, spending a lot of time reading what I could devour, visiting historical places, reading and growing. But sometimes those books leave you a bit flat of the physical/emotional component that is often missing from text books. And then there was the Ken Burns PBS documentaries that began to weave the writings and commentary of people in that era with the actual events of history that spoke to a softer side of history.
A number of years ago we walked the streets of Williamsburg Virginia, listening to the history lessons of historic interpreters, living out the events, and discussing the factors that were front and center. I had my young teenage nephews with us, and it was at that moment that i watched history come to life with the discussion of a man representing a slave, talking about his limitations. My nephew was drawn in, and then angry, and then unstoppable to do something to change this actor’s fate. It was in that moment that he realized history is a series of documented real events. People did enslave other people, and there was (dare we say still is) a real layer of different social classes in the society of Colonial Williamburg, and the Revolutionary War Era America.
So here we are in 2017, far removed from some of the obvious divisions of society. Slavery in the institutional sense is not with us, but yet we have great division between those who have and those who do, the educated and the ignorant. And we have as a nation lost so much of the profound sense of wanting freedom from oppression, of crying for representation without taxation. As we look at our nation there seems to be a rotting cesspool of corruption, entitlement and self protectionism among our representatives of both sides of the aisle, and in some small way we are returning to a place where we are unjustly taxed to death, to pay for the bloated government we have forged, while as a nation we continue to plummet deeper in debt.
As I ponder the thought lives of these courageous patriots that forged the declaration of independence, and the bones of our government I am reminded that they were valiant, courageous, purposeful, and had a wisdom that we need in our day. And i am reminded of some small portion of the stress- feeling like we clearly don’t have responsive representatives in congress, nor in the judicial system. And I worry that the country that was handed to our generation is weaker, loosing favor and standing with the world, and with so many of her citizens.
America, we are eternally grateful that you have existed, that you have been a shelter for immigrants from around the globe (including my grandparents) and we want to wish you a happy 246 years, quietly hoping that the many issues you have going on will find some resolution without destroying more of the middle class, and further subdividing our nation. We wish you many more years of freedom, and liberty… and we wish that the many problems that plague you will resolve soon. Happy Birthday!