Did you find this Fourth of July as inspiring as usual? Or, coming on the heels of the Supreme Court Obamacare decision, was it disheartening? Celebrating the Fourth in a different part of the country than usual brought that question home to me. Many years, I have attended grand firework displays, synchronized with stirring music. However, there is another Fourth of July tradition that takes place in thousands of less populated areas. It is the small town parade, and last week, my husband and I were privileged to see one.
A number of hamlets combined forces, so the parade boasted many a volunteer fire department along with representatives from a variety of schools and businesses. The crowd wore red, white and blue and cheered their neighbors as they passed by. It didn’t take much of an imagination to see this parade as a replay of one that might have taken place a hundred years ago. The parade we watched may have lacked the large budget, famous personages and “wow” effect of a huge fireworks show, but it beamed out a blowtorch of warmth and patriotism.
What surprised me were the different reactions as we compared notes with others. Although everyone agreed that the parade was charming, there was a definite split of opinion as to whether it was uplifting or depressing. Half the people with whom we spoke felt optimistic as they were reminded of how many Americans love their country and retain the values of their forebears. The other half saw the parade as a remnant of America past. They were saddened as they pictured the parade as an emblem of what was being lost. Since most of us chatting were of the same political bent, we all wondered how many of those marching might vote for those pushing the very policies that we clearly see as destroying America.
I can’t remember any presidential election that pundits did not describe as “the most important election of my lifetime.” Perhaps it always is. Building and nurturing are slow processes which need to continually happen; tearing down is quicker and easier. Each set of elected officials has the ability to do some good, but great harm. This Fourth, did you feel elated or resigned, ready to battle for our country or prepared to surrender?