As a remedy for the overabundance of that which is the celebration of 4th of July, I ponder patriotism, the magic of hope, and the power of pie.
Patriotism – devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country; national loyalty
Hope – the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best
Pie – a baked food having a filling of fruit, meat, pudding, etc., prepared in a pastry-lined pan or dish and often topped with a pastry crust
During this past holiday weekend displays of patriotism were everywhere. There were parades and festivals. Families gathered for cookouts. Copious amounts of beer was consumed. People donned red, white, and blue clothing. Flags hung from porches and balconies. Fireworks filled the skies.
The 4th of July is our nation’s celebration of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, a document written by Thomas Jefferson and subsequently ratified by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia that announced that the thirteen American colonies were not longer under British rule and were now independent. It was a brash act, changing the course of this new country. These words set our nation on a path of independence. The past 241 years have been rocky, divisive, and fraught with constant struggles, and yet we still optimistically hang onto the simple phrases put to paper in this original document.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Right, that amount these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Our forefathers knew patriotism was not blind loyalty. This was evident in the heated discussions over whether or not to break from England. Our nation continues to disagree on vital issues, yet deep down in our collective psyche we channel John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. Like all of us, these were not perfect men. They had deep flaws, but they chose to put their trust in the promise of this new America.
Despite the hateful rhetoric, discordant politics, and contentious leadership, there is still hope in this fractious country of ours. It lies in all of us. We want what is best for our families. We believe in honor and truth and an abiding sense of justice. Hope is why we continue to live each day with fire in our hearts. We take care of one another in small ways. We show up.
Where do we find our power, even when our voices aren’t heard? All of us have unique gifts to give the world. We need to dig deep and use them for good. Perhaps you are a teacher guiding young souls or a father showing his children what is decent and honorable. With each small act we change the direction.
Me? I write rambling words of hope. I ask questions. I read words that both encourage and enrage me. I bake pies for family and friends, hoping the depth of my love is felt with each sweet bite. These are my super powers. What are yours?
“Let us tenderly and kindly cherish therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.” – John Adams
“It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” – Benjamin Franklin
“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.” – Thomas Jefferson
(Definitions from dictionary.com)