Tuesday, July 4, 2017

All Over This Land: Celebrating My Country and Yours #SOL17 #4thofJuly

The flag we have in front of our house.
I'm not feeling patriotic this July 4th. As do many, I feel a little less American than I did this time last year. I feel more afraid, more insecure. I feel less like celebrating America's independence.

I must set aside these feelings

I owe it to myself and the country I love to celebrate and to protect and fight in my own way for liberty and justice for all. I am patriotic, but my patriotism is borne of my love of history and my informal study of it. I'm not much for wrapping myself in the flag through gestures and cliches. 

However, I must remember that in honoring July 4th and America's heroes, I am not ignoring the threats to our democracy and freedom, although I sense these as very real and from both external and internal sources.

As I often do, I checked Twitter this morning and found our president's greeting to the country, which included a song written by the music minister at the First Baptist Church in Dallas. 

The song is not a celebration of our nation's past. It doesn't mention the amber waves of grain or purple mountains majesty. The song does not proclaim "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy." The song has noting to say about our land or our country to have and to hold. The song never mentions remembering the men who died for me.

The song has no characteristics of patriotic songs from our past and recent present. It is a propaganda song with three lines, the most prevalent, repeated ten times in 1:40 is "make America great again." It's a song appropriate for a campaign rally, not the most important national celebration. It's a devisive song on a day we must work for unity.

As I scrolled through Twitter, looking at the responses to our president's propaganda song, I noticed two tweets: one drew my attention to the similarities between our president's song and North Korean propaganda music; the other called for alternative songs and offered a Loretta Lynn protest song as an option.

Why not? 

Today I need music, I need something to boost my patriotic feelings, so I searched for a song. As though fated, I found Peter, Paul, and Mary's "If I Had a Hammer." 

I've loved "If I Had a Hammer" since I first heard it during the 1960s. Today, I'll celebrate America's birthday by fixing my husband's favorite potato salad by calling my sons and thanking them for their service, and by sharing in the celebration of heroes at "The Biggest Show in Idaho" firework display. 

I'll set aside my feelings and hammer out freedom. I'll hammer out love for my country and for my fellow Americans, all of them, regardless of our political differences. Certainly, we live in dangerous, uncertain times, but on this day of celebration we can sing out for justice, freedom, and love between our brothers and sisters all over this land. 

No matter how you honor our nation's birthday today, as you savor those tasty potato chips and potato salad, you'll likely forge a little connection from your corner of America to mine where most chipper potatoes grow. I'll be thinking of you and the songs we'll share in this county we love. Happy 4th of July.
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