The land of the free and the home of the brave! Is it? As we sit here on the eve of Independence Day I wonder how free we are and how brave we are. Freedom exists in this country for some, but not for all. I am not free to go to work and talk about Ben as fully as others talk about their other gender partners or spouses. I would likely lose my job -- not for being gay, but for some obscure or unidentified and unspoken reason. We cannot walk down the street hand in hand or arm in arm or sit in a restaurant touching one another in any way -- you know, the way hetero couples do without even thinking about it. If they do it, it's natural. If we do it, we are throwing our perversion in their faces. Freedom? NO. People of different ethnic backgrounds don't have the same freedoms as the rest of us. Some are assumed to be thieves or worse, some are painted as terrorists. Freedom? NO. However, we do enjoy more freedoms than folks in many other parts of the world. There is great inequity as well. If you are connected to those in power, you don't have to do the jail time for your crime. If you are a celebrity, you end in jail for three weeks for DUI's and somehow are miraculously transformed upon your media blitz release. Hmm.
As to bravery, there are too few people today with the bravery that was inherent in our founding fathers. They risked their reputations, their resources, and their lives to stand for the ideal of freedom for all. Today, it seems to be everyone for him or her self and every one else be damned. What a sad commentary of 231 years of the celebration of freedom.
Tomorrow as you eat your hot dogs or steaks and watch the fireworks, stop and take stock of your own life and ideals. Are you free? Are you willing to stand for the freedom of your neighbors regardless of their gender, class, race, economic standing or anything else? Are you brave enough to speak your mind when your government does stupid, wrong, unethical things? If so, celebrate and rejoice in freedom. If not, what better time to re commit to the ideals that birthed these United States?
Have a happy and safe fourth of July.