The 4th of July draws near. In Henry, that means a carnival in Central Park; an entertaining parade in the afternoon; humid picnics in the backyard; ice cold beer, pop, ice tea, and lemonade; the solemn Stoner Park veterans’ walk; amusing yard games; and the booming reports of the city fireworks calling the mass of revelers to the riverfront at dusk. It is the town’s busiest time of the year and everything seems draped in red, white, and blue.
Look at a map of the United States of America. Follow the migration of pioneers as it became a philosophy of manifest destiny. Walk the trails of our history. Learn the stumbles in our nation’s ethics. Slavery. Broken treaties with the native tribes of North America. World War II Japanese internment camps. Richard M. Nixon. The current presidency. Learn the triumphs of our nation. The Declaration of Independence. The Bill of Rights. The Constitution. The freedoms. The middle class. Apollo 11. Public education. George Washington. Thomas Jefferson. Abraham Lincoln. Theodore Roosevelt. Franklin Delano Roosevelt. John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Martin Luther King, Jr. Robert Francis Kennedy. History is not black and white, but gray.
Yet today, the majority of Republicans and Democrats seems to consider the present and future as red and blue. I am not just referring to politicians here, but to everyone who aligns himself or herself to a political party so completely that he or she ceases to look at things in the visible spectrum. The visible spectrum is more than red and blue, more than black and white, more than “either for us or against us.” The subtleties of life do not fit within the confines of labels. Americans are more than that. All humanity is more than that. Very few of us exist exactly as a Republican or Democratic label.
It is time to express ourselves exactly as we are. We are more than labels. More than red, white, and blue. We are individuals. We are living and thus we make history with our actions. Tear off your label, if you wear one, and starting speaking your mind. The United States of American was never meant to be a nation of ideology. It is time to return our great nation to that of being a country of ideals again.