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I am thankful for the liberty that I, and many of my fellow citizens, enjoy. Tokidoki Unicorno Frenzies Series 2 Blind Box Figure - 1The freedom to think, feel and act, to express my thoughts out loud and in print, to live without fear is wonderful! I also recognize that much of this freedom is due to the fact that I am a white, male, Baby Boomer and I have privileges that many do not have.
I also grieve. As I look back to our Declaration of Independence in 1776, I am inspired by the lofty goals and ideals affirmed in that document. Nevertheless, I am grieved that my personal story and our national history has not lived up to those ideals.SUPERDEUX SHIKITO Green VERSION VINYL ART FIGURE TOY BY STRANGECO NIB Dunny When the Europeans (Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, Dutch, etc.) reached America, these lands were already occupied by indigenous people, the first Americans. By and large, our European ancestors conquered them and their lands, imposed “civilization” upon them and broke almost every treaty that was made.Tokidoki X POPMART Unicorno Xmas Set of 12 (No Chaser) International Page I grieve over how these first Americans have been portrayed in history and how they are treated today.
I also grieve the history of the enslavement of Africans. This abuse by humans against humans was sinful, immoral and horrific. Personal research into my own family tree has recently revealed that several of my ancestors were owners of slaves. So, much of my privilege is due to the past slavery of others. How do I make reparations for the wrongs done by my ancestors?
Our national history is mixed.SUPERPLASTIC JANKY Series 1 - 22 Piece Lot with 3 Kings - Rare and Chase Figures We have bright spots as well as many failings. My forefathers and foremothers came to this country under a variety of circumstance and made it their home. Toygraph Booska Racer sofubi vinyl Kaiju Racer Series 4 Sealed Mint Wow The Statue of Liberty welcomed many of them and continues to inspire me to live up to its hallowed invitation:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Nevertheless, we all too often have closed our national doors to the huddled, tempest-tossed masses of foreigners who have sought refuge on our shores.
So, how should we commemorate the 4th of July? Not by the demonstration of military might! Such arrogance reminds me of the Soviet Union, Nazism, and authoritarian dictators of various ideologies. The millions of dollars spent on such a display in DC would be, according to President Dwight Eisenhower, stealing and theft.Trexi Coca-Cola[Set of 20 Figures) Used NO BOXES Even though he was a decorated hero of World War II, he also saw the dangers of war and the idolatry created by the military-industrial complex. His words still ring true decades later:
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. SUPERPLASTIC SUPER JANKY WHITE LOTUS JUNKO MIZUNO (IN-HAND) NEWIt is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
Dwight Eisenhower, From a speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953.
So, on this 4th of July, let us recommit ourselves to work for the life and freedom of all people, all over the world.