Baxter Black: Hope in the summer of discontent
In this summer of discontent, we still have reasons to be thankful to be an American. This 4th of July, we as a people filled our city parks and backyards, watched the fireworks, grilled our burgers and flew flags on our front porches. Once again displaying our loyalty to a concept, a constitution, a country that represents something bigger than we as individuals.
We can look with pride and compassion on the thousands of military and civilians who have and continue to fight the war on terror. The Mideast fighting wore us out but our armies stood strong and stayed together.
They represent us as a people with fair but ferocious dignity in the face of back-shooting fanatics hiding behind their women’s burkas.
We as citizens can also take some comfort in the generosity of our neighbors from coast to coast. There is hardly a person who is within two degrees of separation from a friend or family member who has suffered from the economy; a lost job, a late payment, a repossessed house or car. The outpouring of help, in time, trade or money by individuals, companies and taxpayer-supported programs has kept the vast majority of those affected off the streets and from going hungry.
We have watched our dysfunctional Congress and White House dither and pose, pontificate and piddle, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb…all thunder and no rain. Yet most of us still get up and go to work intent on doing our job. We are the teeming masses that keep the wheel turning, the lights on, and gas in the car, just trying to do the right thing.
We somehow manage to stay positive. I believe this comes from a deeply-ingrained sense of belonging, of being an American. We are rock-solid in the knowledge that our country was founded on faith in God and the principles of freedom. That we as individuals can make a difference and as a family, united, we are a formidable force.
Flags are still flying in our front yards this 4th of July week. The grill is still on the deck, burnt sparklers are stickin’ out of the trash can, and lawn chairs are in disarry, all remnants of our 236th birthday celebration. Now we march back to work with a renewed sense of what we each are part of… this country, the United States. We are secure in the knowledge that regardless of the challenges from home and abroad, when the chips are down we will stand together because… we belong to each other.
I pledge allegiance to my neighbors, my family, my community, and to the flag of our country, the United States of America.