Americans seem to be limping into revised, re-vamped and toned down July 4th celebrations this weekend.
Trying to get together and enjoy each other’s company for the holiday is anathema to social distancing efforts to stall COVID-19. The last thing we want to do is contribute to the spread of the ugly virus. But we can do both.
Communities, businesses, and individuals are doing what we can to celebrate our wonderful country safely. Just be careful.
With all that is going on in our country right now, perhaps this year’s quieter observances can include both a look back at our history and a look forward to what our future can be. Our American history has been a march toward a better country. Sometimes a fine, quick march. Other times an ugly, violent battle to move forward.
Americans are people, and just like people anywhere in the world we are imperfect. Our history is imperfect, and our future will be imperfect. But as Americans we continue to slog along toward a ‘more perfect union’ knowing that perfection is an unattainable goal. Even with our differences, we don’t give up on efforts to work with each other toward that common goal. We may disagree on what it may mean and how to get there, but we share the idea of a better United States of America.
Over this holiday weekend let’s take some time to reflect on the good, bad and ugly that make America. Rather than try to outdo each other about how patriotic or anti this or that we can be, we should spend some time learning about how this experiment in self government is truly remarkable. Our founders were flawed, and held very different views from one another. But together, after putting it all on the line in bloody conflict, they established strong, amazing foundational documents like none other in the world.
Unlike other places on earth, we brazzenly put our internal disagreement, conflict, ugliness, and shame on display for the world to see. By doing so, we lead the world in boldly dealing with those problems, ultimately for the betterment of our country and the world.
With all the striking shortcomings of our founders, they created a way forward for the rest of us to build on and improve together. We have made great improvements since that founding, sometimes at great loss. American stories of great leadership, sacrifice, and heroism abound, as do stories of mistakes, misdirection and evil.
There have been setbacks, but because of the overall goodness and strength of her people, the inertia of America has always been forward, ever forward, toward a better country and a better future.