A Contemplation for Our 241st Birthday
I read a book in which an Aboriginal tribe asks why we celebrate birthdays. They point out that we get older regardless. That, in itself, is not a reason to celebrate.
“We celebrate if we are a better, wiser person this year than last. Only you would know, so it is you who tells the others when it is time to have the party.”- Mutant Message Down Under/ Marlo Morgan
Today is America’s birthday. It is up to each of us, individually, to decide if the collective spirit within our land has become better and wiser.
There is a part of me that wants to rail out against the plans to defund our public libraries, the first of which was founded by Benjamin Franklin. The current efforts to privatize our public museums, parks, and schools, for me, diminishes the flame that fires our collective imagination and soul.
Emma Lazarus was the Jewish poet who gave our Statue of Liberty these words to proclaim:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.”
I feel the pilgrims, the founding fathers and Emma would all be ashamed at our current lack of hospitality.
Still, there is a part of me that appreciates that we were the first nation to not be ruled by a king. Our ideal is that America can be ruled by the people, for the people. A nation that recognizes its inhabitants are…
“created equal…endowed…with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”- Thomas Jefferson
To me, America is all of humanity living peacefully, boldly, as weird as we want to be.
There is an image conjured up in the TV show, This is US, of an abstract painting. While the painting is a metaphor for life, it can also apply to us here in the US.
“We all get to come along and we add our own color to the painting…
And these colors that we keep adding, what if they keep getting added on top of one another, until, eventually, we’re not even different colors anymore? Just one thing, one painting?
Not you, me or them, it’s just us. And this sloppy, wild, magical thing that has no beginning and no end is right here. I think it’s US.”- This Is Us – Kevin’s Painting of Life https://youtu.be/xh-Tof_QxKU
I am celebrating today because I am grateful that, at this point, we still have the one word that really makes America truly beautiful.
We still have a free press and can share the ideas of those we admire. So, I would like to allow the American author Tom Robbins the chance to reveal this one word to you:
“The word that allows yes, the word that makes no possible.
The word that puts the free in freedom and takes the obligation out of love.
The word that throws a window open after the final door is closed.
The word upon which all adventure, all exhilaration, all meaning, all honor depends.
The word that fires evolution’s motor of mud.
The word that the cocoon whispers to the caterpillar.
The word that molecules recite before bonding.
The word that separates that which is dead from that which is living.
The word no mirror can turn around.
In the beginning was the word and that word was,,,
~ Tom Robbins/ Still Life With Woodpecker
From the far right, to the far left, from the Jimi Hendrix museum in Seattle to the Pride-filled sunsets of Key West, from the nude beaches in San Diego, to the bilingual English and French speaking residents at the tip of Maine, and everyone in between, the CHOICE is still yours!
Happy 4th of July!