Today we celebrate Independence Day in the United States. This is also an election year. Like those big birthdays, it offers time for reflection. A few weeks ago I stopped in Seneca Falls while on my shale harvesting trip. The Suffragist Movement started here July 19-20, 1848. It is my right, my responsibility, to participate and contribute to my country. Yes, my country still has issues to work on, but I would not call any other country my own.
Why I Love My Country
I can live in any state without special papers. To date, I called NC (2x), MT (2x), WA (2x), OR, TX (3x), CO, ND (2x), SD, and WV home.
I can marry, or not.
I can own property, vote, and go to church where I choose.
I have the ability, the books, and the time to read.
I access incredible education: formal, mentoring, internships, online, exchange programs.
Mine is a country of entrepreneurialism: people with nothing to bet on or bet with bet on themselves.
Corruption is not the norm.
My body is my own. It is not up for grabs by others, nor can there be forced sterilization.
We have clean drinking water and breathable air.
We have consistent internet and electricity. And as I write, air conditioning.
We have rest stops and public rest rooms. And pet rest areas.
I love our national parks, historic sites, and wild life refuges.
I love our volunteer military, the women and men who serve our country faithfully to keep us safe.
I can freely make my way down the interstate, along state and county highways, or amble down public access roads. All I need is a map, my dog, coffee, and fuel in the tank.
In season, I hunt to harvest my own meat. If I had the skills, I would garden, too.
Mineral rights on private land belong to a private owner, not the government. As far as I know, America is the only country where this is the case.
I can change jobs and change careers. There is no law, no social rule that requires my pursuing a specific line of work. If I lose my job, I can go get another one.
People care. In times of crisis, Americans rally together supporting those in need, in pain, in grief.
I love the look on a newly naturalized American’s face when she proudly tells me of her citizenship.
The next few months will see an escalation in vitriolic political ads, impassioned campaigning, and caustic debates. My friends, do not give up. Today is a day to celebrate. If you cannot remember the details, pick up a book on the incredible feat those scrappy rebels pulled off 240 years ago. Flip through the catalogue of history and marvel at the staggering social changes. No, the story is not finished. Yes, there is still much work to be done.
Today, raise a cup of coffee for all that’s done well and determine how you want it to be better for the next 240 years.
Happy Birthday, America. I love you.