I avoid politics in this blog. I don't talk politics much with friends and acquaintances. But I am involved. I have not missed voting a single time since I turned 18. I write my local, state, and national representatives when I feel strongly about an issue or concern. I follow how my elected officials vote, how they run their campaigns and their offices, and I remember their actions when I cast my vote.
I'm not going to spout off now about what mistakes we have made, or delve into thorny issues, but as it is Independence Day, I want to share a few things about this place that I happened to be born in... a place that has wealth and freedoms and beauty that gives me blessings unmatched elsewhere in the world.
The United States of America.
Powerful ideas behind the nation.
Freedom. Individual rights. Tolerance for other faiths, other views, simply others.
I am unhappy over some of the changes our nations has seen over the last decade or so. Lawsuits which warn us not to use hair dryers in showers, that our coffee is hot, that our children shouldn't wrap their heads in plastic, we shouldn't stand in front of moving heavy equipment.
I'm also concerned about the erosion of civil liberties and due process.
But, all that aside, I love my country.
Though we may seem like we are butting into the business of everyone else in the world, that we are arrogant or self-centered, there is something to remember.
We are a people who believe in justice. We believe, on the whole, in responsibility, and protecting the weak, and doing the right thing.
When I was 19 I spent an afternoon laughing so hard that my sides ached, my cheeks hurt from grinning. I and a dozen others spent the afternoon dangling our feet in a hot spring and listened to a very funny man, Red Skelton, tell jokes.
Red once had something to say about America, something I echo each year to my students. And I want to share that with you:
One more thing... another larger than life American was John Wayne. I also saw him in person, though I didn't say a word to him. He was the second person ahead of me in a line at a pharmacy in Newport Beach. It didn't seem right to approach the man in such a situation. But he also had something to say about us I would like to share:
Happy Independence Day. Thank you for those who sacrifice their comfort, their time with families, their lives, to protect me and my family.
And while we are a nation that is far from perfect, I pray that the best parts of who we are spread throughout the world. They are precious and I would love everyone to feel safe worshipping where they like, voting how they like, and be free to say what they believe.
God bless all of you.
P.S. Here is another example of the kind of men that make me feel the way I do about my country: