Independence Day – Defining America

July 4, 2019

I know this commentary may not sit well with most that choose to read it so please bear with me a moment.

It’s Independence Day here in the United States and it is still a relatively new country compared to the rest of the world only declaring independence 243 years ago.

Yet, despite 243 years of history comprised of people from all over the world who immigrated, emigrated, or migrated here to pursue and build the so called “American Dream” we are still divided.

As a member of an indigenous tribe that was native to these lands long before settlers came, independence is something we lost.

Before the first settlers set a foot on our shores we existed, ruling ourselves, warring with other tribes and progressing at our own pace.  Yet, when I speak these words to other non-natives, they find that hard to believe because the “American” history has been twisted, whitewashed, and turned into a story that only reflects parts of the truth.

This so-called American historical truth also downplays the severity that other minority and ethnic groups went through when they were brought here either willingly or through force.  These groups of people were bought here to build the foundations of this country. 

A segment of our society that built this country are still struggling to be independent despite the end of slavery in 1865.  Most did not gain any sort of freedom from the chains that held them until a short 55 years ago in the form of civil rights.  Yet, despite all of these supposed rights, changes to the law, and purported freedoms, they are still fighting to be heard and treated equally, today in 2019.

On this Independence Day, the slogan of “Make America Great Again” brings forth the only underlying truth about our country, that racism, bigotry, and bias still exist within a few that have declared themselves the true rightful heirs to this country.  That because of the color of their skin they are naturally better, smarter, and should be the leaders of this country.  

Yet, the last time I checked the definition of a leader means “defining and exhibiting moral and ethical courage and setting an example for everyone.”  I haven’t seen much from the leadership elected by the people of this country. 

That’s the only thing “great” about this country, we have the ability to choose our leaders.  When we make a mistake, we change it during the next election.

As I sit here listening to the fireworks celebrating this country by my neighbors all I can do is think back to a time when as a kid I felt so proud to be an American.  I thought we were pretty great already.  It was a time when I didn’t really know the history of our country.

Now, as a mother of grown children, I worry about the future ahead of them and what will they face?  I see the daily onslaught of fighting between Americans on the news and different forms of media.  I read through books, articles, and papers about the history of this country.  I’m not as proud as I once were.

I’ve written before about my military service to this country.  I knew then that I was defending our flag, constitution, and way of life.  It was my way of protecting my own family and my people.  I wouldn’t have changed that but looking at our potential future, I sometimes feel like I wasted my time and put my life on the line for nothing. 

I will never be seen the same as my white peer’s.  It’s a shame that people are looking through this filter and not seeing the real me or others similar to me.  If they took off their blinders and viewed us wholly they would realize that we have the same thoughts, ideas, hopes, and dreams as they do. We are all human beings.

As this country celebrates its independence, I pray that going forward we find a way to work and live together peacefully.  To continue building upon those foundations from so long ago. That the lives lost throughout the last 243 years weren’t for nothing.  That they mattered. 

That one day the few who believe they are our leaders realize that you still need all of us and the generations we created not just a select few to Make America Great Again.   

A true leader knows that adversity causes weakness while diversity builds strength. Diversity has always been the “true” foundation of this country.

Thank you for stopping by.

Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes to you.

Have a great week!

Suzanne

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