A Gloomy Fourth of July

Those of us who are old enough may remember a little verse by Sarah Cleghorn that we heard in school:immigrant child

The golf links lie so near the mill
That almost every day
The laboring children can look out
And see the men at play.

 

That verse popped into my mind yesterday as I heard the news about Congressmen (and women) leaving Washington this weekend to go back to their districts for the Fourth of July celebrations. Some of them are no doubt headed for golf courses. And meanwhile we have thousands of immigrant children being held in detention centers, separated from their parents, wondering what will happen to them. While our representatives celebrate the past glories of our country, they have not taken the time or made the effort to fix the immigration system so horrors like this do not occur.

This has been a bad year for America. Congress neglects its duties and focuses instead on satisfying donors and carrying out the demands of an erratic president. This month has shown how far America has wandered from the virtues celebrated in its usual July 4th self-congratulations.

Land of the Free? Well, not entirely. The Supreme Court upheld the right of individuals to use their religious beliefs to deprive some people of their right to buy a cake in a public shop. But now that Justice Kennedy has announced his retirement, Trump and his supporters are determined to appoint a new justice who will take away the right of women to practice their own beliefs in choosing the medical treatment that is right for them and their families. A justice who will support laws imposing the religious beliefs of some Americans about when human life begins to prevent all women from following their own consciences. Depriving other people of their right to privacy and their right to access appropriate treatment is not freedom.

Home of the Brave? It is difficult to see much bravery in Congress these days as they meekly accept the orders of an ignorant and bullying president. Paul Ryan, who spoke out bravely during the 2016 election campaign and refused to support a man whose morals showed him to be blatantly unfit for office, has crumbled along with the rest of the Republican majority. Congress stood by and watched the farce of accepting an order that immigrants from a number of Muslim-majority countries should be barred from the U.S. No one will be more secure because of this limitation, but many families will suffer. They passed a tax bill that reduced taxes for their supporters and probably themselves, but will leave ordinary working people behind. They accepted the imposition of a record-breaking national debt that our children and grandchildren will have to pay. And they failed to ensure that all Americans get a decent level of healthcare

No, this is not a Fourth of July to celebrate. Instead of mouthing worn-out phrases about America’s past glories, this is a year to start reversing, as much as we can, the slide backward into the bad old days we worked so hard to overcome. Instead we can

  • Get in touch with our representatives and urge them to fix our immigration policies and live up to our ideals.
  • Choose candidates in the upcoming midterm election who will battle to ensure that the gains that have been made over the past century in Civil Rights and Women’s Rights are not thrown away.
  • Urge our leaders to work with our allies and democracies around the world to maintain peace and stability in the world. We do not need to cater to autocrats and sully our reputation as an example to the world.
  • And the only way to do all of this is to REGISTER AND VOTE! voting

10 Comments

Filed under Current Affairs, holidays

10 responses to “A Gloomy Fourth of July

  1. Pingback: Guest Post: A Gloomy Fourth - From The Pink Shed

  2. Reblogged this on Site Title and commented:
    As the holiday weekend comes to a close, I’m reflecting on why I didn’t feel like wrapping myself up in the flag! No mystery. Adele sums it up perfectly. Despite the fun in the sun, it was a gloomy fourth.

  3. Adele, Thank you for writing the post that I could not! I completely agree…it was not a fourth to celebrate. I’m sad and tired and appalled and angry! But, yes, I will keep engaged as you’ve recommended…after all, I am an American. I would really like to repost this on my blog if I can figure out how???? Is that ok with you?

    • I’m glad you like the post. I think a lot of people are feeling just as tired and appalled as you and I are, but we have to keep working for change. By all means repost the blog post. The more people who get active, the better!

  4. Laura

    HEAR, HEAR!!!!!!!!! “YES!” is all I can say – YES, YES, YES, YES!

    I just hope that throughout the nation people heed your words. We need to vote in upcoming elections if we want any chance of saving our country from disaster.

    THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS!

    Laura

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