I’m writing this on the eve of another Fourth of July and dreading it even more. If I wouldn’t feel completely silly waving sparklers like a baton twirler, I might be more enthusiastic. I can still feel those pinpricks on my bare arms so many years ago. The list of friends who have to flee their homes with their pets due to firework trauma gets longer. I will lie in bed hoping that all digits will stay on the hands of sloshed celebrants setting off the last of their bunker-busters in the park close to where we live.
And, I’m already seeing an array of tanks and military bragging about to become part of our national “celebration.” This is not the America I want to show to the world. They’ve seen enough of this already and are still fleeing around the globe.
It’s hard to get all of my childhood patriotism, hand over heart, America is the greatest kind of feelings engaged. Where did they go and how can I get them back?
Grown Up Books
This year I vowed to get informed about subjects I had forgotten along the way or never knew beyond a multiple-choice test in high school. The first eye-opener book I read was The End of the Myth by Greg Grandin. The way he can share his knowledge and research on the page is astounding and disturbing on so many levels. His earlier book Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism is no less informing and gives much-needed context to the crisis at our southern border today.
For “fun” I’m still working my way through Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen. We are not the country we think we are, have been told we are, and definitely promised. We are just people who have been sold exceptionalism since birth and have a hard time giving it up—for something more true and better.
Now That I Know – What Am I Going to Do About It?
- I’m going to keep reading, learning, and not keeping silent when I know more than someone quoting one of those “lies.” Unlike so many bots or humans, I’m not going to do it on Facebook or Twitter. That strikes me like egging someone’s house on Halloween—in the dark and running away. I have hopes that someday this blog will be a safe place for people to disagree. Hate is easy, understanding and empathy hard.
- I’m going to be as tolerant as possible of the generations of girls and women who have come after me when they toss my Women’s Movement (when I came of age) into the heap of past history.
- It’s still a struggle to be female whatever personal pronoun you choose—more so in some states at a personal and political level. When the Dalai Lama was woke to how insulting his “successor must be attractive” remark was, there’s plenty of work to go around!
- I’m going to support females who are as fierce as a slap in the face and as right as rain. Older, younger, any color, running for office and elected—I’m with them! If I can’t get to a demonstration, I can send them a little money or sign a petition. I want my name on lots of email lists of supporters who believe in democracy with a socialist following it—of the people, by and for the people. Not the handful who are currently running the show—into the ground around the world.
- I’m going to write what I know about our broken healthcare system—a wound in me that won’t heal. I spent too many years trying to make it better to walk away now. When I see that according to a recent article in Jacobin there is: “a new anti–Medicare for All coalition. The Partnership for America’s Health Care Future has spent a combined $143 million on lobbying in 2018 alone. The coalition’s key partners include the American Medical Association (AMA), American Hospital Association (AHA), and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). In addition to lobbying, this coalition of for-profit insurers and providers is unleashing a full counterattack on Medicare for All.” Get Ready! It’s going to be a helluva fight to overcome this kind of money, greed, and power who want to keep things just the way they are—BROKEN.
Maybe I won’t dye my hair purple or get to decline an invite to the White House. But I can say Yay, Sister! to Megan Rapinoe who says her willingness to speak out makes her “extremely American.” You and I can follow her here: https://www.facebook.com/mPinoe/