GENDUSA COLUMN: Secure the future of Independence Day

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, June 29, 2022

This Independence Day, 2022, we find our nation filled with divisions, economic woes, violence, controversy, and worry. Last year there was hope that after the pandemic became more controllable, our July 4th this year would be filled with thanksgiving and enormous celebration, but perhaps that was just a daydream.

How do we return to thoroughly enjoying our Independence Day celebrations amid such tribulation? We will because we always have. We have endured wars on foreign soil and on American earth, plagues, recessions, political upheaval, and brutality throughout our country’s history. And because we did, we must continue to believe we will do it again.  One way to heal destructive national division is to have faith in one indivisible land.

Our forebearers were a group of folks who amassed in a place called America. These brave folks came from numerous countries with differing beliefs and strong views to find freedom. Be free to express their opinions, worship their various faiths, and build a government based on equality under God’s leadership.  We must remember why and how we came to be who we are.

My grandfather and brother could argue over the Constitution, politics, and America’s current affairs until the cows quit mooing and the rooster crowed. Yet, they were never irreparably divided because they respected each other’s thoughts enough to launch into how to repair many of society’s problems. They did not use excusatory blame but instead used their minds to create answers. As they sat in the corner being ignored by the rest of the family, I now understand they had the right idea on how to patch the torn bits of America’s fabric.

They simply listened to each other. Granddaddy and John respected the other’s comments, took the best of ideas, and combined them to form logical agreements. Using common sense and historical facts, they honestly tried simplifying and organizing ways to unravel complex issues.

Polarization in our nation is dampening the American spirit today because many are not listening to others’ ideas or reflections regarding resolvable problems.

In many cases, it seems reasoning is lost. When political pandering or media bias moves us away from building a stronger country by splitting us into fractions and factions, our celebrations are muted, and faith in our nation begins to falter.

We are an eclectic group, just like our ancestors were when they believed in something greater than their personal ideology.

They took significant risks traveling to an unknown land to find the freedom to worship, speak, and forge a far safer, Godlier existence for their children than they endured.

Our great nation was born because those who took a chance were united in the common belief that freedom should always reign supreme.

Deeply divided partisan politics espoused between each other from our backyards to the halls of Congress are replacing common sense, respect, and problem-solving. It separates us by pointing fingers instead of shaking hands and builds vile hatred. Partisan anger has split families, torn friendships and shaken our faith in our nation.

As a young child, I stood in my elementary classroom in Franklin, Tennessee, where each morning after prayer, we stood to recite these words with our hands over our hearts and our eyes focused on Old Glory:

“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.”

I believe in those words today and know we must always strive to be an indivisible nation. And no matter what, we should honor our Flag and what it stands for until God returns us to him.  Perhaps, if all of us recited the pledge each morning and added a prayer, we would defeat destructive divisiveness, strife, economic woes, inequality, and violence because it would renew our sense of what America’s freedom means to every one of us.

It is up to our citizens today to decide whether we will again celebrate Independence Day with a joyous appreciation or continue to damage our country with conspiracy theories, racism, lies, and self-importance. Do we honor our heritage, constitution, children, and faith or keep splitting our nation into nothing?  With certainty, we will never agree on everything, nor will we vote for the same candidates. Our ancestors and the brave soldiers who fought for our liberty assured us of the freedom to not agree and to vote our conscience.

They secured our American rights and for them, let’s move to the corner of rational thinking and consideration to find solutions to help the generations that follow us relish the freedom we celebrate every July 4th far into the future.