My town has been unusually quiet this weekend. With the July 4th holiday so close and many people taking this Monday off to give themselves a 4-day weekend, the fireworks and celebrations would normally already have started by Saturday at the latest. This year I haven't heard so much as one fire cracker go off. Yes, you can smell the chicken barbecuing on the grill and hear kids splashing in their backyard pools, but all in all, it has been strangely silent. Even the traffic has been less than normal.
I can't help but think that this July 4th many people are, perhaps some for the first time in their generation, worried about what is going to happen to this country. For those of us old enough to remember the turbulent 60's and 70's, the Viet Nam war, and Watergate, these feelings are all too familiar and ones which we had hoped to never feel again. Along with our friends and neighbors, and our fellow citizens, we are caught in a current of hatred, violence and fear. The dialog in this country has become intolerable, filled as it is with racism, sexism, cultural and religious intolerance, and greed. This is not the America my generation fought to preserve, not on the battle fields in Nam, and not on the streets of this great country in protest against war and inequality.
I'm not going to name names, or point fingers of blame, for that is just buying into their rhetoric and that's just what those that would tear down this country for their own greed want. What I am hoping is that this year, as you watch your parades, and have your picnics, and wave Old Glory about while fireworks light up the sky, you will ponder these words by the brilliant Albert Einstein:
"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."
I don't know how everyone else will interpret those words. I only know what they say to me. They say it is time to not stand idly by and watch the parade ... it's time to become the parade, the parade of those who believe in the Bill of Rights, The Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution (and have actually read and understood them), to stand up to bullies and say, "No More."
Tomorrow in the garden the kids and I are back to pulling weeds that, with the wet spring and summer we've had so far, have continued to multiply like a bad virus, and this time getting them out by the roots. Then we're going to mulch the heck out of them and help repair the soil so that next spring the garden will grow back healthy, vibrant and strong. It seems like the right thing to do this July 4th, a fitting metaphor, don't you think?
And so it is.