On this American birthday I salute jazz music, barbecue, college sports, the Internet, equal rights, airplanes, Coca-Cola, national parks, interstate highways, blue jeans, bacon cheeseburgers, free speech, pickup trucks, iced beverages, and after a couple of unhappy moments on recent international trips, let us also raise our glass of Pepto Bismol in honor of plentiful supplies of toilet paper. Sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing!
There is a flip side to the U.S. of A., too, including massive waste, mass incarceration, persistent racism, indebtedness, overconsumption, and reality television, but c’mon, it’s her birthday.
My particular faith evolution has apparently left me less patriotic than many of my fellow Americans. I choose to live reconciled to all people regardless of national identity and have a particular aversion to any version of an us versus them mentality, which most definitely includes the ugly definition of American exceptionalism.
But this is inescapably my country. It is where I was born, and it has shaped me in unmistakable ways. Today, I pause to celebrate the good in it and recommit to fight against the bad in it.
Happy Fourth of July.