“If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for?” -Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Happy Independence Day! How lucky are we to live in this country where we have the freedom to say what we want and take full ownership of our beliefs and actions?
I love the Fourth of July for a multitude of reasons, not least of which is the fact that I can wear head to toe American flag gear and eat an entire tub of strawberry ice cream with no shame. We live in a beautiful country, and I love watching people go all out in celebration of America’s rich history. The founding fathers pulled off a pretty spectacular feat 240 years ago, and sometimes I have to pinch myself when I remember how fortunate we are that things played out the way they did. (And as much as I’d love to write a short novel here geeking out over the American Revolution, my hero Thomas Jefferson, and how rad the Constitution is, I’ll refer you to the Hamilton soundtrack instead because it makes history sound a whole lot more fun than I ever could.)
One thing to keep in mind on this day is the reality that millions of people around the world still struggle under oppressive regimes and governments that show little concern for individual will. Democracy is a beautiful thing not easily achieved throughout history, and it can be easy to forget that we are in the minority of people around the world who have this level of personal autonomy. As a woman, this is especially important to me. I have the chance to work and study and chart out my own course in life, yet for millions of girls my age and younger, society will never afford them these same opportunities. It’s frustrating and a reminder that there is so much work still to be done for human rights in our world.
All that being said, short reminders like this make Independence Day that much sweeter because of how special and wonderful our government is. Celebrate in style today and share all those opinions, because guess what–you CAN! Regardless of your stance on politics or current social issues, I think we can all agree on how thankful we are to live in this marvelous place. As General Washington so eloquently reminded his protege, “From here on in, history has its eyes on you.”
And history is a pretty cool thing, folks. Have a wonderful holiday!