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.  .

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