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4th of July: 2020
Fourth of July used to mean backyard barbecues, fireworks, and fun with family and friends. A time to enjoy the beginning of summer, particularly here in the Pacific Northwest; July 4th is considered the *real* First Day of Summer.
This year, particularly Spring 2020, has been a year of change for me. Sure, I’ve crossed over solidly into mid-life, through the growth of my children and status of my cancer recovery, but also the social justice change and growing isolation in quarantine.
Dedicating more time to myself, my own personal growth, my garden, my education, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on what the meaning of many of our celebrated holidays are in the context of our changing world. Looking through the prism of history, the celebrated “Independence Day” here in the United States of America has assumed freedom for all.
Of course, that’s what we’re told in school. Popular culture and insidious advertisers tell us to salute the flag and all it’s given us; the price of freedom realized with the Declaration of Independence by white, primarily European, male, landowners on July 4, 1776. While the text of this document states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” it does not guarantee these rights to all people.
Quite the contrary.
Historically, rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have been reserved by those who have the money and power to capture these “unalienable” rights. These rights were not for women, certainly not BIPOC or LGBTQA+ communities. These rights were given to the men who wrote this document for their express freedoms of trade, accumulation of wealth and influence, and, ultimately, power. This isn’t to say that England wasn’t doing the same by colonization, it was. However, resting on our laurels with the *fact* that all people in the United States have these rights and are afforded these freedoms is far from true.
This is the crux of the Black Lives Matter movement.
This is the reason we strive for social justice for ALL people and why all lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter. Until we, as a country, as a world, understand the limitations to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness stem from historical context of documents, laws, acts, and positions that leave out the majority of the population, we cannot truly be a free nation.
The idea that democracy is freedom is a farce.
Democracy based on the idea of wealth accumulation, and passing down that wealth to descendants, must start by be egalitarian – but really, it must be more: Equitable.
So this 4th of July, I’ve opted to not focus on the flag, independence, or other ‘USA-country-pride’, instead opting for a palette of fresh, organic, vegan fruit to be the start of our quarantine. We’re focusing on our family relationships, caring for ourselves, our causes, our passions, our communities.
Are you celebrating the 4th of July differently this year? Tell me below…