In our neighborhood, we know each other. We rely on each other. Kids run from house to house with reckless abandon. Our friends are nice enough to share their swimming pools and people drop by without texting. We actually know each other and we all look out for one another.
There are two holidays we all celebrate together; the Fourth of July and Halloween. Both holidays are like progressive dinners, hopping from house to house talking, drinking, and just having a blast.
On July Fourth, we will be setting off fireworks and barbecuing. I am looking forward to spending time with people I love (and doing sparklers, because they are my all-time favorite).
Even though I know we will have a good time, I can't help but feel a bit differently about the holiday this year. Our country seems so divided on many issues and the global climate feels unstable. A great deal of the news is filled with negative and, frankly, scary stories and images of terror and hurt. Even though times might seem grim, as I go into the Fourth of July this year, despite all the doubt and pessimism and polarizing memes and articles that fill my facebook feed each day, I feel proud.
I feel proud to be apart of a community of people who hold differing beliefs and still come together for a celebration of our nation's independence and the things that make us great. I feel proud to know neighbors who can passionately discuss topics and still trust each other to let our dogs out while we are away on vacation and pick up each other’s mail. I am proud we know our neighbors and we rely on each other. We have built a bond that goes beyond the divisiveness of politics and that’s what community is all about. I feel proud to be part of a group that realizes it takes a village—we are all different and respect and love go much farther than hate and anger.
I know my community is representative of our nation as a whole. I know the United States of America has the capacity to put differences aside and prioritize people over preferences. This Fourth of July, I hope that in addition to celebrating the independence of our nation we celebrate community.
Happy Fourth everyone.