July 4: Freedom, Independence and the American Dream
On this day when the 2nd Continental Congress passed the Declaration of Independence, and Henry David Thoreau started his life atWalden Pond, I think a lot about freedom and independence. I’m deeply grateful for the freedoms I have including freedom from want, from fear and from disease. Then there are the freedoms to vote, worship, to associate with those I choose to, to work for the common good, and “pursue happiness” among others. Independence to me more often means interdependence. Even Thoreau had to get his groceries somewhere!
A program on public radio asked what song typified the American Dream. Of course “This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie occurred to me. As I volunteer and work for justice in various ways, it feels more and more like my land. For me, “We Shall Overcome” also quickly came to mind. As I wrote my state representative and senator about tweaking the law to ensure secret ballot for all in WI (having received no response from either to my email) I realized again the necessity of a “we” to overcoming. I need the backing of a disability group, the ACLU or some other big group to get even this tiny change to happen. But since this is a holiday, I’m just going to kick back and celebrate that I have the freedom to try Celebrating will include a walk with my guide dog (freedom to travel interdependently), listening to stirring American music on public radio and laughing at “The Capitol Steps” Fourth of July special political comedy hour. .