The 4th of July ~ We’re Almost There.
An uncomfortable look at the celebration of our independence.
As I grow, my thoughts and beliefs periodically waver as I’m exposed to new information, and consider alternate perspectives to my own. I think that’s probably pretty normal. We live. We learn. We grow. At least that’s how it’s supposed to be. My feelings about our yearly celebration of our nation’s independence? Not so much.
My thoughts on this evolving nation seem to be stuck, and they go something like this:
Each year my ponderings of the 4th of July start over again. Traditionally, the celebrations of the 4th typically consist of a gathering of our closest friends and family, good food, sunshine, swimming, and BBQ, all capped off with watching fireworks! These are all things that I treasure. Our forefathers (and foremothers) had unimaginable courage and dreams that are clearly worth celebrating. There’s something heartwarming and memorable about these get-togethers.
That said, especially when it comes to traditions, the “Why do we do this?” always undermines my mental monologue. So, other than for the fun of it, what’s it all really about, and how is this “independence” thing working out for us anyway?
We all start our lives completely dependent. Our nation started like that too. However, as human beings, we learn and grow, eventually reaching physical, financial, mental, and emotional independence. We can do things on our own. We no longer need the support of our parents and caregivers in order to survive. Ignoring the arbitrary age of 18 which signifies ‘Adulthood’ in the US, people typically become independent sometime between the ages of 16 and 22. The US became independent 244 years ago today; July 4th, 1776. Happy Birthday!
Each year, on the 4th, we raise our flags in our yards, we wear our red, white, and blue, and we carry on with our celebrations. But year after year I keep wondering, isn’t there another step to our evolution? Individually, isn’t independence just another step on our path to interdependence; working together? Don’t we need each other in order to truly thrive? Aren’t we, as a society; as a nation, “Better together?”
If dependency comes first, and independence second, doesn’t interdependence come next? We’re born dependent, work hard to become independent, then bring our strengths and wisdom together, and truly work together to achieve unimaginable goals? Aren’t our ultimate individual and collective utilities optimized when we work together?
I’d love to see the US start to show more maturity, more wisdom, more social development; and more interdependence. I’m starting to see glimpses of a shift in mindset from the younger generations. I’m grateful for that. Maybe from the shadows, will come true interdependence, and with that…peace.
Wasn’t it Lennon who said, “Imagine…”.
Yes, please! Let’s keep celebrating our Independence on the 4th of July…but let’s continue growing too. Let’s celebrate this incredible, empowering, world-changing milestone as another step toward peace. But we can’t rest on our laurels. There’s no need (and with today’s circumstances, no time) to stop and rest. We’ve still got work to do.
Today, from the bottom of my heart, I wish you ALL a happy Independence Day. It is with the hope that the coming years add another holiday to the calendar…with more swimming, more sunshine, more BBQ, more baseball, and maybe we’ll hold off on the fireworks. Maybe we’ll call that day…”Interdependence Day.” And hey…lets make that holiday last a week.
“I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”