A Patriotic/Unpatriotic Fourth of July (Depending Upon Who You Ask)

What if we took someone else's choice not as a personal attack on our own beliefs, but exactly as it is... someone else's choice?


The morning of Independence day as I paged through my closet, I pulled out and donned a black shirt with a hint of red. I hadn't planned it. I simply chose what felt right. Recognizing the lack of what we think of as "patriotic" attire, the meaning of patriotism drifted to the forefront of my thoughts.


What truly is patriotism? And is our interpretation of it leading to further judgement or love of others?


I could have repressed the feelings of injustice and lack of equality demonstrated by the recent Supreme Court rulings. I could have stifled this discomfort and gotten us all festive for the sake of appearances. But frankly, I'm done doing things just to appease others that don't feel right to my heart and soul. There are many times in life when our existence functions in duality, and this was one of them. Instead of allowing guilt to arise at not celebrating as a a "good American" should, we chose to recognize that two things could both be true simultaneously.


1) I could be grateful to live where we choose to live, in a place where we're able to live with so many needs met and luxuries enjoyed. I could be deeply thankful for those who fought for this to be our reality and those who step up to ensure it stays this way. I could be proud of the hard-working, loving families we came from and the land on which we were raised.


AND ALSO


2) I could be disappointed, saddened, and downright angry about the choices those who swore to uphold the highest representation of the American people are making... choices that reduce the amount of freedom for the majority of citizens. I could be frustrated that a group of individuals feel the need to impose their beliefs on all American people, even when those beliefs contradict the foundation on which this country was built upon.


The definition of patriotic is "having or expressing devotion to and vigorous support for one's country."


Patriotism doesn't always look like dressing kiddos in their stars and stripes, drinking beers while grilling, and blasting fireworks. Sometimes it's the sharing of truths that those close to you may not see eye-to-eye with. Sometimes its loving the people of this country so fully that it hurts to feel entire groups of people abused, mistreated, or oppressed. Sometimes it's setting aside the facade and optics to mourn the deaths of those who've had no say in the laws governing t