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Some 4th of July Thoughts
First and foremost, let state one thing very clearly before I go on:
I am not anti-American, and I am not writing this to condemn this country or trash it as it celebrates its birthday.
I'm just intending to state how I feel.
That being said...
As I write this, it is Independence Day, the 235th birthday of what's widely considered the richest, most powerful country on earth.
Many, if not most, of the well over 300 million residents of these 50 states will be partaking in fun activities such as swimming and lounging around at pools and beaches, grilling delicious meats on their barbecue grills, and in the evening waving lighted sparklers around, lighting firecrackers, and watching lavish fireworks displays that will lead them to go "Oooh!" and Aaah!", while singing songs like "America the Beautiful", "You're A Grand Old Flag", and a song which I feel is more popular than the Star Spangled Banner in some ways, "God Bless America".
Which is all well and good, but I can't help thinking about a few things...
I can't help thinking about how so many people say they love this country of ours, practically commanding everyone they see to "Love it or leave it!", but this country sure doesn't love certain people back, and never did.
This country certainly doesn't love what I'll delicately call the less fortunate - the millions who are without a roof over their heads and go to bed with hunger every night in the streets.
This country definitely has no love for those millions who have been laid off and downsized from their livelihoods through no fault of their own because of greedy employers and millionaire businessmen wanting to make even more profits by cutting the throats of those under them.
This country has no love for those who can't afford healthcare because the insurance is too expensive.
And this country has defiitely never had any love for those residents who are not white, male and Protestant (especially white)...
What with blacks of African descent coming to this country in chains in the bottom of ships - the only group of people who did not come to America of their own free will - being thought of as inferior human beings for the 246 years that slavery - which was a big reason why America became the richest country in the world - existed, and for over 100 years after it ended.
In fact, while blatant discrimination and segregation is now illegal (thank goodness), and has been for some time, there are plenty of folks who still feel that blacks and other people of color are inferior human beings.
I think that's ample evidence of America, as a whole, not loving blacks, Latinos, and other people of color, as well as gays.
The group that America has flat-out hated, in my view, is a group that was on these shores thousands of years before the first settlers arrived at Jamestown in 1607: the people that Christopher Columbus called - incorrectly I may add -"Indians".
Martin Luther King perhaps put it best when he said:
"Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race...From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial superiority. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population...we have elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade...(reducing) a red-skinned people of an earlier culture into a few fragmented groups herded into impoverished reservations."
Indeed, if wasn't for the gaming that some of the native American tribes have, that ethnic group would be far worse off than it is. And contrary to popular belief, not all tribes have gaming - those who don't are still suffering from poverty and all the things that go with that.
But I digress.
I know full well there are plenty of good, sensitive people in these United States who happen to be of European descent who want to see this country live up to its' "All men (and women) are created equal" creed, and have done much to try and make that a reality.
However, I can't help feeling that for too long, America has been a country of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich, and that's a terrible thing for the over 95% of this country's residents.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I like this nation for what it could be, not for what it is right now for too many people who are without jobs, homes, food, and equal rights and protection under the law.
When that is corrected, when the poor are completely taken care of with what I just mentioned as well as healthcare, when they are free from want and fear, then, and only then, will the United States of America will truly be the greatest country on earth.
I know there will be many disagreements on this; keep in mind that this is strictly the opinion of one person - me.
In the meantime, Happy Birthday America.