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Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Birthday America! What Happened?

(As I was typing the title, I could only think of an old girlfriend or boyfriend you have just seen for the first time after a number of years. Time had not been a friend to them and it caused you to wonder...What happened?)

It is July 4th. It is America’s Independence Day.

I felt compelled to find out what Independence Day means other than fireworks, Families gathered for picnics, the waving of American Flags, the swelling of pride for the freedoms we have and those that have taken the task to defend those freedoms.

In a website, it lists many things to share with children as to what the 4th of July means to America. They certainly mentioned the adoption of our Declaration of Independence from the oppression of England,  that as the results of the outcome of the Revolutionary War, our country guarantees us the freedom to practice religion the way we want, say or write what we want, and go where we want.

We are asked to explain that adults pay taxes to their local, state, and national government so that, among other things, the government can build and maintain facilities that reflect our values. Education is important to us, for example, so we build schools. Safety is a priority for us, so we put up traffic lights. And we want open places where we can gather, so we set aside space for parks. Children can also see the people who help the community, including police officers, firefighters, crossing guards, librarians, postal workers, and sanitation crews.

We are asked to explain that we have the right to vote for our leaders who will insure that we remain free, that we use the money we have given to our leader to defend us, keep us free, build schools and hospitals and maintain our roads

All of these things and even more represent what today represents and what we celebrate with fireworks, parades, and million bar-b-ques grilling a million hot dogs and burgers.

Then I read the story of 53,000 children that have fled their families their homes and the fears that have filled their days. They are children and don’t understand politics, budget shortfalls, nation states, borders or even the welfare of food, housing and healthcare. They are children.

Then I saw a humorous image of Dick Cheney, read a story about a beef and chicken leg recall, and the jailing of a man who was convicted of not only manipulation of our news, but retrieving it in a way that violated the rights of many.

I could have kept reading the paper, but it would have been more like reading how many homes burned on Christmas Day and how many Santa’s had been rounded up for running a Porn Ring.

It was just too depressing

Something happened. Something, probably in my lifetime, something perverted my freedoms, our freedoms. Something took some of our freedoms away and even more of our freedoms were stomped and challenged and it would take a Court System years maybe decades to determine our rights and freedoms had be withheld.

Something happened. Somehow we went from a land of the free to the land of the fool to be sold dangerous foods, sent to die in wars that better companies to earn more wealth and then hide their profits in oversea banks. Something happened to the freedom of our Press and it became a freedom of the press controlled by this profit initiative or that corporation. Somehow the practice of religions that so many had died to defend our right to practice had become overrun by groups who had little to no interest in the freedom of religion, unless we practices a religion with the same tenets as their own.

Somehow the acquisition of profit became more essential than the safety of our food, the health of our families, the education of our children and the security of our country. Somehow we became a country that protected those that had violated our basic freedoms. Somehow we were allowed to be fed lies and corruptions like animals in a stockyard and then asked to make the decision on who our leaders should be and if we did not follow their lead, we even supported the blocking of every action that our elected leaders ran their campaigns on.

Somewhere along the way, we were duped. Somehow we lost the freedoms that we are to celebrate on July 4th.  I have had the privilege of leaving this country and standing on other shores and looking back at our own. It is amazing what I watched. It was amazing how so much of the world, shook their collective down-turned heads and wondered “What happened to America?”

To truly understand the position of the freedoms that we celebrate today, I know of no better way than to leave our country to find out which freedoms were slowly, stealthfully taken from us. To experience what is the Freedom of Speech, to understand how a group of leaders are chosen to protect the people and not the corporate interests.

To better understand America, the scraping away of our freedoms and the future of our land, I don’t know of any means to get a better perspective than to remove yourself from the middle of the beast and the midst of the disinformation we are fed and stand, looking back at the land where today, we celebrate the challenged freedoms and the diminishing liberties called the 4th of July.

Happy Birthday America. Maybe we should gird up on family and hot dogs and burgers and beers and fireworks today so that the revolution to build the 21st Century America can start in the morning.