Sprinkled throughout the thoughts of love and allegiance were expressions of disenchantment and disconnection. The first segment ended with various voices reciting the pledge of allegiance - the very same words we too recited as children in a chalk dusted classroom.
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,
and to the republic for which it stands,
one nation under God, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for
all almost everyone.
My thoughts roamed and bounced off the mountains racing to the sky on either side of my car - what do I really think about this country? Was I enamored with a nation that won't let me marry who I love... a land where I can't have joint car insurance because they don't acknowledge my relationship... a place where I am afraid to hold hands in public for fear of who might shield the eyes of their young children... a country with varied adoption laws, some of which wouldn't allow my partner to adopt our little girl... I pay my taxes like the rest of them, the government will take my money but it won't take away the ceiling of inequality.
This is the first 4th of July I sat under the shower of ash from fireworks and realized my country didn’t really acknowledge me. Mixed with the sweet, child-like awe I experienced as the fireworks boomed across the sky was the bitter reality that although everyone on the lawn was created equal, we weren’t living in an equal reality.
There was such a sense of unity when people of different genders, races, sexual orientation, religious and political beliefs, economic and educational backgrounds blended together as one in the darkness of the night. Why can’t that unity remain after we regain our sight after being blinded by the fireworks?
In honor of the 4th, a young family member posted this image to their facebook page and I about cried when I saw it. How can a middle schooler “get it” and educated adults in the decision making arenas of this world miss the mark time and time again? If only more people could see this world through humble, gracious eyes, the callous divide of inequality could be uprooted and seeds of peace and development would have a place to grow.