I always get a little emotional when I hear the Start Spangled Banner. A wave comes over me and I feel deep gratitude for the country where we live. Especially around this time of year, Memorial Day and Fourth of July. My father served in the Korean war in the early 1950’s and although he doesn’t talk about it much, I know it still lays heavy on his mind. He didn’t want my brothers to join the military because of the Viet Nam war and he is reaffirmed in that notion by the wars in the Middle East. This too weighs heavy on my mind and heart. So many young, strong, valiant people come home broken, distraught, maimed and mentally ill because of what war has done to them, barely able to readjust back into normal society, to get a normal job, to be comfortable with their own families and friends. It’s gut wrenching to hear how difficult it is for these “best and brightest” to assimilate back to the life they left a few short years ago. Nevertheless, I am grateful that they were the ones making the decision to go into combat in the name of freedom.
Sometimes I think that our freedom is being taking away by the same people who make the decisions to send our troops into war. Our food and water supply is being poisoned, while the politicians take money from the big corporations to keep it hush hush. The health insurance companies are investing in the fast food industries trying to keep people sick. The big auto makers, the ones bailed out by the government are keeping secrets from the American people about the safety of their vehicles while innocent people die and they do nothing, suffering no repercussions. If a corporation is in fact considered a “person” or an entity, then why is no one held accountable when these things happen? Why do they continue to make more and more money off the endangering of the American people? These things make me sick to my stomach.
Yet, I still love this country. I love the diversity of it’s people. I love the beaches and the mountains. I love the varied climates and the contrasting terrains. I love that it spans from the Atlantic to the Pacific. I love that when I travel to other countries, I rarely need a visa. I love that I can create opportunities for myself and others by just doing so. And I love that I can wear whatever I want as a woman of the West, and not have to feel ashamed for not covering up from my wrists to my ankles, especially when it’s hot. I love that I can vote, even though it doesn’t mean much. I love that I have access to fresh fruits and vegetables and I love that people are trying to sway things in the other direction.
What we do have is freedom of choice. Too many choices sometimes, if you ask me. Often, making the right choice is difficult. I do have to go out of my way to make sure our cabinets are filled with healthy foods, by traveling to several stores to get what I want. But I am lucky, I have a car, and the freedom to go where I please, when I please, without the threat of war. Bad things can happen at any moment, but I know that those moments are less likely while we live in America today.
So we take the good with the bad. I think I get so emotional sometimes because I feel the good that people are trying to do each and everyday. I know there are a lot of people like me who are trying to change the way things are and see how corrupt the government and big corporations have been for so long. I recently got upset about a new ban on bans on fracking that passed in Texas. Basically, municipalities cannot ban fracking in their local area. And one politician said, “If you don’t like it, then ride your horse to work.” Well maybe I will, or my bike.
The reason people want to ban fracking in their area is not because they want someone else to carry the burden it has on the environment, it’s because people no longer want to have to rely on such measures at all. There are measures to ban Tesla from selling a mid price ranged electric vehicle, there are bans on people in Florida from “going off the grid” and using entirely solar power. The truth is that there’s an undercurrent of people like me who are desperate for things to change. We are desperate for better choices, not just more choices. I meet people like this everyday, old and young and this is what makes me proud to be an American. It’s the believers who know that things will change, it’s the innovators who will create that change, it’s the protesters who will fight for that change. It’s happening. Get your horses ready. You may need them sooner than you think!