I love the Fourth of July. I enjoy the sun, the outside time, the universal sense of relaxation. I like fireworks too. But this year's wet and cold weather gave me time to think.
Maybe it is the election year, but it feels like not everyone who is blessed to be American is loving America right now. So often we hear or see the phrase, "Land of the free, because of the brave". And it is true that we are fortunate to still have men and women willing to serve and protect. It is also often voiced that we are a free country because of our constitution. But that's not correct. We are a free country because we have never allowed ourselves to be governed by the thoughts and ideals, or physical presence, of someone else. When our forefathers first took up arms, there was no Constitution. They didn't have to constantly have to hear about one person telling another person that they feel oppressed because someone said they shouldn't have this gun or that gun, and someone else didn't go running to the nearest newspaper crying that their right to free speech was infringed by their neighbor. Whatever someone's political views, I struggle most with people who aren't thankful to be Americans. Can you imagine if we were invaded by another country and forced to adopt their governing style? There would be op-ed pieces popping up all over telling us that at least it wasn't a Democrat/Republican/Libertarian. Some 24 hour news channel would pop-up telling us how great our new ruling body was, and so many people would blindly follow it those who weren't fooled wouldn't be able to stand up the new government.
No matter our faults as a country, it would be really nice for people to be proud they are Americans. No matter our political beliefs, it would be really nice for people to be civil to one another.
No matter our paper laws, it would be really nice for people to do the right thing because they are guided by morality and kindness, rather than fear of consequences.