Sunday, July 3, 2016

Interdependence Day

Tomorrow is July 4--the birthday of our nation, though it was quite a bit smaller and less complicated back then. It is called, far and wide: "Independence Day".

That seems like a misnomer to me. First of all, the slaves in this country weren't "independent" in 1776. And women, back then, what would they say to know they wouldn't vote until the 20th century.

The second reason it doesn't work for me is that what this country (or any nation) needs is 'interdependence' not 'independence'.

What I would call 280 million (are there that many of us? I think so) 'independent people' would be CHAOS written in all caps.

What we need, as a people, a tribe, a nation, is to recognize how dependent we are. We are dependent on the rule of law, on the people who make our laws, on federal and state government and local government and other entities to handle the multitude of issues that we can't handle on our own. We can't build our own roads or pump our own water or have our own schools (though some people think they can!) or generate our own electricity (except for people with solar panels--can't have them in a 'Historic District'), deliver our own mail, create our own internet, be in charge of our own radio and TV stations, run our own hospitals, be our own lawyers, protect our nation without an armed force, police our own streets (which the town or state built), make our own paper, grow all our own food, make sure there is oil in our furnace---I could go on and on and on and on with this list.

We are interdependent and that is what we should celebrate tomorrow: how much we depend on each other to make it through the day.

Some people have suggested that 'individualism' in the American psyche is a problem.

I would agree.

To quote one of the candidates for President: "it takes a village to raise a child".  That wasn't Trump, if you're wondering.

Trump actually appeals to the enormous lie of "individualism". People are pissed off about 'their lives' and not much worried about anyone else's life. I see the Tea Party folks who protest from time to time in front of the Town Hall during drive time about "getting the Federal Government out of our lives".

So, handful of older men (seldom women, pointing out that they are not only the 'fairer sex', they are the 'smarter sex'!)  holding signs like that and signs like "Obama is a socialist" (oh, I wish!) how many of you sent back your SS check this month? How many of you protected our homeland this month? How many of you built the street you're standing on? How many of you enlisted in the Navy this week? How many of you inspected meat and other food or did research on diseases or guarded our boarders or provided a school lunch or a college scholarship or built a fighter jet in your life?

What we should celebrate tomorrow--and I will--is the interconnected community that is our nation. We need each other. Everyone of us. And we should make it easier, not harder, for people who want to be interdependent here to become citizens.

This is the greatest nation in the history of the world. I--a left-wing nut--would say that. But what I would point to as our 'greatness' is that we 'lean on each other', not that we are 'individuals'.

Everyone counts. Really.

Happy Fourth of July. Eat the burger. Drink the beer. Light the sparkler. Watch the fireworks. None of that would be possible without the web of interdependence that is our nation and, really, our world.

Liberty, Justice, Freedom and Interdependence....Community. Happy birthday USA.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.