Independence day. Our day to celebrate our independence. From what? From Tyranny. From an oppressive government. From taxation without representation. For freedom. For democracy. A real democracy, where the government is for the people, by the people. A government with checks and balances to ensure, that we are treated equally. That we have rights and protections. That we have a say in our lives.
I think about the people who we are as a nation now, as it now stands that people are seeking asylum from our government. I remember with maybe a childish naivete, how we were the once great nation that served as a beacon of hope against the oppression of the world. We stood up for human rights, for fairness, we protected the world from evil. We were the good guys. The bad guys were out there somewhere, wanting to hurt us, hurting their people. We were the safe haven. That is the image of the country of my childhood.
Yet, the child in me has grown up, and woken up to the unfortunate realities that exist in our own government. Who are we as a nation now? I grew up being proud of my heritage. As a Mexican American, I love all of me. It was not easy, the life of struggle I endured, but my story is not unique. I am just a thread in the fabric of what makes this country great. Woven together, we are all a part of this fabric that makes this country what it is today.
Yet, the tyranny that our forefathers once fought to escape generations ago seems to be upon us again. We should be used to it by now. WE should be used to the fact that the powers that be will always seek to take us for granted. They will use their wealth and privilege to justify their stripping of our rights. No freedom or right came to us easily. Ask the women suffragettes who were laughed at, mocked, beaten, if their right to vote came easily. Ask the freedom marchers who were beaten, sometimes murdered, if the civil rights they attained years later, were easily achieved. Ask those who died fighting for the right to unionize if it was an easy struggle. We, the ones who make things, who work in the jobs that keep this country moving, who teach the kids, who mow the lawns, who pave the roads, who fix things, who serve the food, we have never been given over anything that did not come without a fight. Many battles, over decades, over centuries. Nothing was handed over to us easily. We had to fight like hell, march, battle, organize, bleed, and sometimes die. It was worth it, though. It made us better. It made our nation better.
I think about the battles that are upon us now. We are fighting old battles that seem to be needing our attention all over again. The battle for the right to vote? Yeah, gird your loins. The battle for women’s rights? What century is this? The battle for equal pay? We should make it a battle for fair pay for all of us. The battle for fair and living wage? The battle for our privacy? The battle for our civil liberties? The battle against corporations who would just as soon poison the drinking water for an entire metropolitan area for profit, than to put the health and welfare of men woman and children first. My God, pick a fight, and you could find a different one every day of the week for the next week, month, year. Unemployment, homelessness, hungry children, the elderly, the poor. Where do you begin? Just when one battle gets going, another one must emerge. We sing the praises like Wendy in Texas, yet bare witness to those like Zimmerman, a man who shot a child down, and yet can still go on national television, and say he has no regrets for his actions.
I look around, and I see the battles that were fought and the celebration of the 4th of this July are still in progress. Around every corner, is another battle against tyranny. It takes many shapes and forms, but we know they exist. We know.
Nothing will be handed over to us easily. Yet, we know, this is the battle we must continue. This is the fight we were born to make. This is a generation full of greatness. The powers that be, want to call the young hipsters narcissistic. They want to call the working poor lazy. They want to call those who fight for women’s rights feminazis. The laugh and scoff in our faces when we demand that Wall Street pay for their crimes against humanity. They spray pepper spray when young people and old gather together and march, demonstrate to say, no, we’re not gonna let you get away with this. They spy on us, our every move monitored and maintained in some huge facility. Imagine if they had that kind of overreach during the 60’s? Would we have ended the Vietnam war? The draft?
We are told we are not patriots if we do not sit on our hands and tow the party line. I say, we are doing what’s vital to our patriotic duty by standing up to the tyranny that we are witnessing in our country. That’s what makes us Americans. I love my country, and i want it back from those who seek to oppress it’s citizens, poison it’s waters, air and land, imprison it’s innocent, steal it’s wealth. No one is going to hand it all over to us easily, without a fight, without us demanding the change we want to see. This isn’t just about our country anymore, this is about the safety and compromise on a global scale. World wide war crimes, done in our name. Unfettered authority they’ve given themselves, against all of us.
On this Independence Day, I celebrate the continuation of our right to challenge and overcome the tyranny that would oppress us all. It is a fight that all of us must Join In. Together, we can gain our country back.