I wish I could just relax and enjoy Independence Day. Over the past few years, I think I’ve gotten close a couple of times. Virtually every year, my family and I attend the festivities at Carson Park here in Eau Claire, including a patriotic festival at the Chippewa Valley Museum, an Eau Claire Express baseball game, and, of course, fireworks. There is always some fun woven into those elements and I love spending the day with my family. And, in the recent past, I’ve concentrated my Independence Day thoughts on gratefulness for the freedom I have as an American.
I am, indeed, incredibly thankful to be able to speak freely, worship Jesus without fear, and hang out with whoever I want to. Being an American citizen is a blessing I do not take lightly. I try to remember these things as my fellow countrymen celebrate our nation’s birthday.
However, I have always struggled with celebrating Independence Day. There is a multitude of reasons, some of which I am sure I will address in future posts. One of the foremost reasons is the historical treatment of non-white Americans, and especially black Americans.
On this past July 4th, during the Express game, I walked my son down to the inflatables (which, along with the ballpark food, is the real reason he wants to go to baseball games in the first place) and stayed there with him for several innings. As he played with some new buddies, I sat on a bench and pseudo-watched the game while thinking and feeling through some heavy stuff. I was especially reflecting upon the killing of Philando Castille and the acquittal of his killer. Over the years, I’ve thought about injustices like this and a plethora of others. And I’ve come to the realization that there is a certain amount of hypocrisy in me for commemorating Independence Day in full knowledge of the hypocrisy of our Founding Fathers and their “inalienable rights” and emphasis on “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (for rich white folks). Sometimes, it sure feels like some things haven’t changed much, especially for my non-white fellow Americans.
So, yeah, the 4th is tough for me. And this TS10 is a reflection of some of what I have thought and felt in the past seven days.
- A King and a Kingdom by Derek Webb
- BLOOD. by Kendrick Lamar
- Zzyzx Scarecrow by Stavesacre
- Inside Job by Don Henley
- We the People…. by A Tribe Called Quest
- Bloodlines by Lizzo
- Know What It Means by Project 86
- We Do What We’re Told (Milgram 37) by Peter Gabriel
- Revolution by Arrested Development
- Star Spangled Banner by Jimi Hendrix