On my morning jog (yes, jog – stop laughing!) I watched as families strolled their way to the local 4th of July parade. At first, the anti-American (or at least anti-Trump) social media posts made by friends, family, and acquaintances flashed in front of my eyes.
I began to feel slightly guilty for smiling at all the little kids decked out in their red, white, and blue regalia. How could I revel in celebration when there are still hundreds of children kept in cages, unarmed black men being shot dead, and key legislation that protects women and people of color being overturned left and right.
But then I stopped and changed the lens through which I viewed the holiday.
As I paid closer attention to the giggling girls, busy boys, and their already slightly stressed out parents, something clicked: this crowd consists of every race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, gender identity, political affiliation, and subsequent composition.
In that moment, as everyone I passed greeted me with a friendly “good morning” or “hello” I realized that this too is America. We are all different and vehemently disagree about a lot of things. But when we can manage to put our differences aside for some fanfare and fireworks, we get to see the best of what we could be.
Of course, pleasantries don’t erase atrocities. I am not excusing any hateful ideology or malicious practices. But I am reminding folks that we can get along. It’s possible. I’ve seen it.
So rather than living this day in bitterness and anger, let it encourage you to fight for a country with positive possibilities. Be influenced by the little moments, inspired by the innocence of a child, and don’t waste your energy shaming those who choose to enjoy an occasional day of merriment. Enjoy today. Because tomorrow, the struggle continues…