What exactly does that mean in this year, 2017?
We have spent 240 years, give or take, celebrating our freedoms and independence. We have praised the United States of America for bringing democracy and liberty to more than just our people but to the masses as well. We have sang the words of Francis Scott Key, waved the fabric of Betsy Ross and marched to John Philip Sousa all the while being proud of the example that America sets for the world.
This year, though, begs a true look back.
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
But for who?
We murdered Native Americans in our quest for our own liberties and freedoms.
We prospered only with the help of a people who we enslaved and whose ownership we took.
Women were, at best, second-class citizens who were denied so many of the right’s their male counterparts enjoyed and considered unalienable.
We used the idea of God under Manifest Destiny to take what wasn’t ours and have been punishing the people we stole from ever since.
Civil rights in this country have not been something given to all of its citizens.
Segregation was supported and people fought to continue it.
Same sex marriages only recently became legal.
We use cultural caricatures as cartoonish mascots for our sports teams and openly support racism that we call tradition.
Women have still not been given their right to equal pay.
We have begun to hunt down people like prey if we believe they don’t belong here and handle them like wild animals loose on our property.
Every year on a holiday we call Thanksgiving we ultimately celebrate our attempt at the genocide of an entire people.
We have a continual debate in this country over half of the population’s right to control their own bodies.
And our police forces are brutally murdering our people because of race. They are shooting first and asking questions never. They are not being held accountable to any reasonable standard and when our nation speaks up, they are silenced. Juries acquit killers with a badge. Citizens choose to stand with the murdering police over their innocent neighbors.
We have been on a path since 1776 that was always heading towards Donald Trump. We have lived an existence in this country that can only be described as hypocritical.
Not all of us.
But it’s time to acknowledge our compliance in behavior not fitting with the values we touted as forever being “ours”.
It’s time to change our future by acknowledging our past.
And it’s time to realize and really come to terms with the fact that our past is a lot like our present and if we want to stop this degenerative process and pull ourselves out of the weeds and muck and shit that we find ourselves in, we must #resist.
For resisting is the only authentically American thing to do. And it’s our only option if we want to have actually earned the pride that we burst with in this country.