This post was originally written in 2014. It fit then. It fits now.
Before I delve into how I feel about political discourse and how much I love America, remember food is healing and can bring all sides together. All Americans should be able to sit together and enjoy our freedom, whether red, blue, purple or meh! Recipes for July 4th below.
July 4th is considered one of the more pleasant and fun holidays in America. This freedom we exercise today didn’t come easily or harmoniously. There were intense arguments when the Constitution was written. Freedom never comes easily. The fighting was fierce, even amongst men who basically wanted the same thing.
As I sit at with my MacBook Air on my lap, I’m reminded that I live in a country that has engraved in its value system, freedom. Most importantly, freedom of speech, was something gained with blood sweat and tears, not decided over at an ice cream social.
Serious issues drum up high emotions. Intense feelings drive motivation, give energy to make decisions.
We can look around the globe and see inside prison cells, people just like us, who said something or wrote something that we would consider benign. Three journalists were just sentenced from 7 to 10 years in an Egyptian prison with charges considered absurd.
Five years ago I saw these stories in the news:
In North Korea, there are at max, 5500 websites, all controlled word by word, and you don’t want to know much more about their concentration camps and people they sell into slavery.
This story of a Sudanese woman jailed for her Christian faith is horrific as she was forced to give birth in jail, waiting to be hung and given 100 lashes. That didn’t happen and she was released, only to be stopped within a few hours on trumped up charges that her documents are not correct.
Many latinos are risking their life to get into America, because they know they have a chance for a good life here, as their governments are corrupt, their children have little hope.
The world is a heavy, dark place for so many. In America we complain bitterly when we can’t have our way, because we don’t have a global perspective.
I’ve been witness to much whining and foot stomping here in Nashville, because we can’t buy wine in the grocery store. While I would enjoy that convenience, next to every grocery store is a store selling wine.
Not really much to complain about, because in some countries if a woman drank wine, she might be stoned to death! In America, she can buy a vineyard, own her own business, and eat and drink what she likes. That is NOT the case around the globe.
We hate each other when we have a differing viewpoint, because we forget how awesome it is to even be able to exercise debate and intense discussion. Talking heads tell us daily that our country is divided, but they forget to tell us the positives of this.
When countrymen can’t debate, totalitarianism is right around the corner. When one side has too much power, corruption worsens, and when everyone believes the same thing, that means some dictating force is corralling the thought process.
It’s dangerous and it’s how Hitler succeeded. We never want a country of agreement. We want people duking it out. We NEED to hear the other side. We need a country that allows its people to have heated debates and high emotions.
When people stop feeling, stop caring, evil takes a better hold. Someone somewhere will always care about what you are doing and how you should be doing it. You need to care more and you need to be willing to stand strong in whatever it is you believe in. I’m not proposing violence in any way, but I am opposing apathy.
We may get roaring angry at each other, but we’re free to fight. Hooray for protests. Hooray for principles. Both sides get to scream theirs out. I love America for this.
Intense debate from BOTH sides pulls each side out of extremism. When everyone believes the same thing, extremism will take hold and the majority will suffer, even those who initially supported extreme views.
Fighting each other through words and legislation is a good thing. The day we become the country where we all think alike, is the day someone else is making us think that way.
Group think is dangerous and always deserves an ice pick. When an entire group thinks exactly the same, look behind the scenes for indoctrination and radicalization. Look to lose your freedom.
The United States of America is not a cult. Thank God for that. We do not dress alike, walk alike, worship alike or talk alike. At times we hate the opposing views of our neighbors.
I don’t have the same views I used to have. I live in a country where I have been able to read a bit of everything, experience a bit of everything and change my views by myself.
I used to be a pro-choicer and somewhere after my brother’s death, I ran to the other side, because the way I viewed life dramatically changed.
The next time you complain or feel hatred for your fellow American, think about this. Write something. Write about both sides. Try to understand what the other person is afraid of. I’m not talking trolling on twitter!
Know that the freedom to speak and write was fought for. The goal of a people should never be to get everyone thinking alike or living in total harmony. That is the goal of a totalitarian regime.
Jeff Goins wrote a great article , The Revolutionary Power of Words, where he says, “live a life worth writing for.”
What would you write about if your fear was removed. What is worth writing for?
There’s no way to segway to food from this, but I have to leave you with something nice.
Enjoy your holiday today. Drive safely. Don’t text and drive. Exercise caution with your fireworks. Eat fun foods like these posts that I think would be great for this holiday. Take this one day to get along with folks who are different or have different views. You have more in common than you know.