Lament for my Homeland

I’ll be observing Independence Day tomorrow, but it will seem eerily different this year.  Oh, I’m grateful for my nation and for the values that form our foundation.  I’d still be willing to fight and even die to protect our freedoms and those of other nations. But on the Fourth I’ll spend a quiet day considering what we have become.

There’s a spirit of darkness hovering over us this time.  It’s shadowing, dreary, and ominous.  The recent talk of civil war is not all in jest; many Americans believe we’re heading toward armed conflict in the streets and across the farmlands. We seem to be at each other’s throats most of the time, encouraged by the news medium of our choice.  Compromise and agreement are foreign terms in our polarized setting.

So I’ll not be joining the drunken crowds gloating over the riches of our nation.  There’ll be a lot of trivial and self-indulgent frivolity flowing from sodden, frothy bubbles of artifice.  Many will slur their tributes to the land of the free and the home of the brave with a vanity and pomposity that delights in what some call “American exceptionalism.”

I cringe when I hear this drivel, because I don’t believe we’re superior to any national entity on earth.  We’ve been blessed richly by our Creator, who, according to our own founding document, has decreed that all are created equal and have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

So I’m wondering how we can return to our role as defender of liberty. I wonder how we’ll find a way back to being generous, welcoming strangers at our gate, cooperating with faithful allies who have trusted us and partnered with us to make the world a place of justice and peace. And I wonder how our leaders will guide us to believe in ourselves again.