Around the world and across generations a familiar scene has played out many millions of times, different in the details, yet identical in the main. Families gathered around a table for a final meal in the only home they had known. Young men and women stared at the ceiling, alone, awake, nervous, waiting for the morning when they would leave all that they knew. In the morning, they would leave for America. They are us, and we are them, connected inexorably and infinitely. We are Americans.
Today is a day that I can celebrate and hope that America is a work in progress. In the past day or so I have had my hope reinvigorated by words from American heroes less often elevated but to hear their words and hear of their fight I am inspired despite the the characters who bring us down. Yesterday alone I heard Yusef Salaam, exonerated member of the Central Park Five who was castigated by a former president of his own country who called for his death.
He now is a candidate for Harlem City Council and presumed to be elected. And Myrlie Evers, widow of slain civil rights activist, who spoke with a kind heart of an America her young husband had died for.
The words of these and many others will drive me to do my part in fighting for American independence.
Steve, you are right. America’s original sin was slavery and oppression of the indigenous .. the slave auction block in towns across the South is one proof. Rank intolerance and the KKK followed the emancipation proclamation, as we denied the freedoms to those once enslaved. Their freedom was denied by their color. We are doing this again. Republicans would effectively deny voting to non-white Americans and deny the right to choose to women by state laws forcing them to deliver the unwanted child, a form of discrimination and slavery. The party of intolerance has emerged from the party of Abraham Lincoln. Intolerance is rising, violence is rising. The Tower of Babel is the metaphor. Tribal behavior opposes tolerance. We must find the way to love our neighbors and treasure our differences, not fear them. Differences are the spice of life. They flavor sameness.
“Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.” -John Lewis
“The only reason unjust systems exist is that the masses of people silently give their consent and believe these systems are necessary—whether for their security or survival.” -John Lewis
“I believe in freedom of speech, but I also believe that we have an obligation to condemn speech that is racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic, or hateful.” -John Lewis
“It is the responsibility, yet the individual choice, of each of us to use the light we have to dispel the work of darkness, because if we do not, then the power of falsehood rises.” -John Lewis
Thank you Steve, and all here who love and work to protect Freedom in these Unites States!
Thank you Steve for this eloquent reminder of what freedom is about. And thank you for featuring our beloved hero John Lewis.
Thanks Steve. Happy Fourth of July to everyone out there. We are being called upon to keep our democracy, so thsnks to sll of you who care
To Steve and The Warning community, happy 4th of July!
Frankly, it’s the defiance and dissent that worries me. I think it is these that cleared the way for a Trump presidency and, perish the thought, lead to another one. Time to celebrate what we have and make damn sure we keep it. It is the balance you seek between society and self. if self prevails, defiance and dissent are the way to get others out of the way. If the society is the stronger then people will work on its behalf. Americans need to decide which is more important right now, today. identify those who want to tear it down and defeat them. It’s that simple. Forget about who you like. With the nation’s 250th birthday only two years away, imagine, if you can, Donald Trump as president. That 250th birthday will also be the death day. America is on the brink and there are very clever people scheming to reshape it in their image. Don’t let it happen. Live to see another day!
Well thought out and precisely communicated. Thank you, Steve. You are a True Champion!
You continue to ask the question, “How can you love your country when you hate half the people in it?”
I’ve pondered this question since the first time you asked it..It is a troubling concept to consider..The answer is that you can’t..However, you can stand in defense of the founding values and ideals of your country against those of us that would seek to tear them down..And there will be an element of animosity in that defense.
Excellent Steve, but I hope without the fireworks. My dogs don’t like it.
We are slowly losing this country to fascism, they won’t stop at the LGBTQ folks, there will other groups and then the races. I fear we can no longer stop this by normal ways ie the courts, or the vote, or petitioning the Government for redress of grievances. Sadly it looks like violence is the only option to stop this before it is to late and we lose our democracy.
This celebration of freedom is awash in a patina of hypocrisy that undermines your every word of hope and love of country more and more every day as we inch closer to that 250th birthday..Today will not be a joyous celebration of freedom for me, and many more I imagine, while the freedoms and rights of, women and the LBGTQ community are stripped away by a corrupt illegitimate SCOTUS, (a creation of the current GOP), and shreds our Constitution..
Rather this July 4th is a day of mourning, as we continue down a path of regression, it is a time of celebrated bigotry, hate and stunted progress.. Freedom for me but not yea..
Happy Birthday America, wherever you are..
Happy 4th my fellow Americans. First generation Cuban American.
A work in progress. No where where we need to be, but further along then when Cong John Lewis crossed the Pettis bridge.
Today is a day for parades, fireworks, stump speeches and too much ice cream. ( watermelon ok watermelon). It’s also a good day for a hand mirror. We hold up the mirror and see two images: those, through the SC rulings. , would drag us back to the 1950s. Those, through deliberate legislation would move us forward. Which will we select. Which, will make us a more perfect union.
Possibly my favorite all time essay that you have written, Steve. I empathize with your previous assertion that you dislike writing, while having a proficiency. It seems you have warmed to the task!
Gorgeous piece of writing today, Steve. Happy 4th! And on Independence Day may we all be liberated from our unwholesome qualities, and be strongly cultivating our wholesome ones 🌿🌺🌈🙏