Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Oh freedom...

...oh freedom.
Oh freedom over me.
Before I'll be a slave
I'll be buried in my grave
And go home to my Lord
And be free.
[African American Spiritual]

For some reason this song runs through my head today. Yes, it is the 4th of July. Yes, it is all about freedom...but why this song and not...

My country 'tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty
Of thee I sing...

...etc.

I just got back from my evening walk. Firecrackers exploded. Whistling pyrotechnics abound. Yes, we celebrate freedom. Do we really stop to think about what the celebration represents?

Rockets red glare...
Bombs bursting in air...

...and gunshots. Lots of gunshots.

Maybe it's just the noise I don't like. Too hard on the nervous system.

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate that our armed forces protect our freedom and have from the Revolutionary War until now. I know that sometimes the only thing to do is fight. I'd like to claim that I am a pacifist in the truest sense of the word, but I know that if someone attacked me, I would fight back. I did fight back.

I wish we could celebrate the freedom and liberty part without re-enacting the war.

In fact, I wish we could still have the freedom and liberty part.

I would like to...

...be able to travel without having to take my shoes off at the airport and being randomly selected more often than is random chance for the personal search.

...check books out of the library without the government being able to track the materials I access.

...experience separation of church and state. (Wasn't that part of the reason the Revolutionary War was fought?)

...trust that our current leaders have the best interest of the people (read "people other than themselves") at heart.

I know these things seem petty. On one level they are, but on another they are symptoms of erosion. I grew up on the coast. Property owners there know that if erosion is not stopped in time, it undermines the integrity of the structure. If erosion takes over, there is no turning back.

Oh, yes. I do truly, deeply appreciate the freedom we have in the United States. Thank you to everyone who made it possible by dying and living through war, by serving through war and peace. Thank you.

I just wish...

May the Divine keep our troops safe and bring them home soon.

May we continue to be free here on our own soil.

From our lips to Heaven's ears.

Amen.


3 comments:

sar_girl said...

Amen! I couldn't have said it better myself. I worry what kind of planet my future grandchildren will live on...........

sar_girl said...

I have to say....you need to add "the home of the brave" for those who are brave enough to express themselves and taking a chance on how it is received.

graceonline said...

I'm not sure if the topic saddens me so that my perception is unclear, or if I am correct in sensing sadness in this post. For all of us, the human family, I pray for peace.

I think of Ghandi, who sat down and spun cotton, and who inspired a nation to protest peacefully, sitting and spinning, even when the soldiers beat them bloody.

I think of King who marched, who spoke and inspired a nation of people of color to assemble peacefully, even when the police beat them bloody.

I think of India, who won her independence from England not with guns and killing, but with cotton and sitting.

I think of India, today, where people of one faction bomb and beat the people of another faction bloody, in disagreement.

I think of people of color in our country today, uneasy with the freedoms won for their middle and upper classes, contrasted against the suffering of the under classes.

I think of drive-by shootings and knifings, daily now, gang members killing and beating people in bloody rites of passage.

Where is our Ghandi? Where is our King? And if there were a Ghandi, could I sit down in the street, even when the soldiers, the police, the gangs, beat me bloody?

I have not yet.

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