This month we will again be celebrating the 4th of July, the birthday of our nation’s founding. Frankly, I do not see it as a happy birthday. The discourse between everyday people all the way up to our country’s so-called leaders is more toxic than at any time in my lifetime. I include the Vietnam War era in that assessment. There may not be mass protests, but what lies just beneath the surface is perhaps even more divisive.
The Memorial Day tribute to our fallen armed services men and women in May and the 4th of July celebration should be opportunities to come together and find common ground. In politics, there seems to be a complete lack of interest in the kind of compromise that has kept a functional, albeit imperfect government moving forward for 241 years. On a personal, one-on-one level with friends, acquaintances and even family, there is more of a lack of respect for others’ feelings and opinions than I can ever remember. In order to avoid conflict, the conversations often turn neutral. Keep the peace and accomplish nothing.
This letter is one person’s request for tolerance and respect for one another… family, friends, acquaintances and strangers too. Not just opinions. How about cultural and racial differences? I would like to finish this plea by quoting the most famous and inspiring part of Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, “New Colossus.” It is, of course, inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
That is the first thing my Grandfather saw as he sailed into New York Harbor on his way to the modern day Promised Land, the United States.
Have a wonderful 4th of July and enjoy a fun summer.