Rev. Kate J Meyer, LPC
Why I'm not celebrating the 4th of july
July 4, 2020 will be different for most people due to COVID-19. For me, though, I'm choosing not to celebrate because to do so feels hypocritical.
Yesterday, I was able to watch Hamilton on Disney+ with a great friend. I commented to her during the viewing how much more I caught this second time, than the first time when I was just trying to take it all in (that same friend and I saw Hamilton in Chicago this past October). The show is genius on every level and if you have the opportunity to see it, I encourage you to do so.
Raise a glass to freedom. Immigrants get the job done. There are fragments of every song that highlight how bad things in this country are today, but this particular phrase conveys it clearly: "You will come of age with our young nation/We'll bleed and fight for you, we'll make it right for you/If we lay a strong enough foundation/We'll pass it on to you, we'll give the world to you/And you'll blow us all away/Someday, someday/Yeah, you'll blow us all away/Someday, someday."
In what ways have we taken what was fought for and made it better? In what ways have we built upon the foundation laid?
Independence Day. A day to celebrate freedom. But what have we done with it?
Black people are being murdered by entitled, racist people, including some who wear a uniform of protection. Systems of privilege and injustice are solidified to the point that those who benefit from the privilege can't even see it. Other countries are choosing to block American citizens from entry because Americans are so focused on "rights" and "freedoms", they'd rather walk around without a mask, ignoring social distancing, than protect one another from a deadly virus. Religious freedom has been tainted to the point that many believe those freedoms should only apply to one religion. Many members of that religion have elevated this country to the level of the God they claim, to the point the two seem to be one. A major anthem sung/played on this day, elevates the importance of people in this country over those of any other.
For White people, this country is free; for anyone else, it isn't. Independence Day? Yes, the original reason for celebration remains; but I happen to believe we should be constantly improving, and we aren't. There's a lot of work to be done in this country. Land of the free? Definitely not.
I know my silent protest of avoiding all things celebratory doesn't change a thing. But that doesn't mean I get to go ahead and do it anyway. Some day this country will represent true freedom. Until that day, it's time to buckle down and get to work. Someday, someday.