I’m going analog for a tick. Family in town, fishing to do, and there will be some laying in the sun with nothing on my mind at all. In the meantime, it will be the Fourth of July in a couple days. Some people have no reason to feel patriotic this year. Let me share some thoughts.
Some people are disgusted by our administration’s ideology, rhetoric, stoking of dysfunction, and policies that affect our most vulnerable community members. We are all hurting as our community members fly their Confederate flags and spew hate on local media websites, saying the administration isn’t doing anything wrong. The hate isn’t out there in the distance, it’s right here and you can’t turn around without choking on it.
So here’s what I think, which is worth perhaps five cents in a wishing fountain: I was a nurse and proud member of the Washington Air National Guard and then the United States Air Force Reserve. I achieved the rank of Captain before I resigned my commission too early, under George W. Bush, our 43rd U.S. President. I sat on the pale, blue-green carpet in our old house with the documents spread before me, and I cried until I was done. Then, I signed the document to end my short military career. Those of you who knew me as a young officer know how hard this would have been for me.
I don’t hate George Bush. I don’t even dislike him. I just didn’t want to serve under his administration any longer. Here’s a bit of old news that may surprise you–I voted for him. (Once.) Yes, I was a Republican, and then one day I was done with that, too. As I watched the party’s rhetoric change, I left because it was not in congruence with my personal values.
Since then, I’ve poured my heart into taking care of the vulnerable–children, families, and those with mental illness. I’ve worked in County Mental Health. I’ve volunteered in any agency that will have me. I’ve tried to volunteer in even more! I can tell you exactly how many agencies I’ve contacted in Deschutes County, with the desire to give time toward peace, reducing the impact of trauma, and building resiliency here. Sometimes people don’t know what to think of me.
I’ll tell you what to think of me: I’m an American. I have an enormous heart and fierce spirit. I love deeply and I’m a fighter. I’m not a martyr; I’m a patriot. I want to make my country great in the very best way–by supporting people to systematically dismantle all the dark process that has laid the tracks for this time in our history. Many of you do, too, and it’s time to find YOUR spirit of patriotism and own it.
It’s time to rebrand patriotism.
So yes, Happy 4th of July–in a country where nationalism, colonialism, egocentricity, white supremacy, and misogyny can all continue to die off–one ugly gasp at a time. And no, I don’t hate anyone. I want everyone to come through to the light side. I feel that it’s better on the side of love, but I understand if you’re a little unsure. It’s also pretty hard work. Hate will never die, but I won’t be complicit. #goodcompany #noregrets #fiercefriends#diplomacy #civility #USA #humanity