By David Hirzel
On Fourth of July, AP columnist Ted Anthony published a column “Independence Day in a Land of Confusion.” As the continuing events of the summer of 2020—COVID 19, the BLM movement, the meandering self-indulgence coming out of Washington in the face of existential crises—amply illustrate, the United States is a land of confusion.
Thus his suggestion that “Being an American citizen is like having a relationship” is particularly apt. This is something familiar to almost all of us. One way or another, most of us have been through the ups and downs of romantic and family relationships. We already have some idea as to what might be expected of us as we negotiate our ways through the changing landscapes of such intimate relationships.
By thinking of our great society as a family, somewhat but not irretrievably dysfunctional, we might all be able to see each other as more alike than perhaps we’re comfortable admitting. And bound to each other with ties that are not easily severed.
So since we’re all in this together, why not think in terms of fixing what’s wrong with the relationship, and having a real try at making it work? It won’t be easy, but it never is. Think of the Declaration of Independence as our wedding vow, made to and with each other in the bright optimism of the moment, that must be renewed from time to time, as the harsh realities of conflicting self-interest arise. The older generations must learn to adapt to the choices their offspring make, and think of this family as a living, growing, evolving concern.
Monuments to the mistaken heroes of a bygone era no longer merit our respect. The old ways of policing must change. The inequities of social justice and income equality must be erased. It will take genuine leadership, and dedicated effort on the part of all of us to heal this family, if we can just learn to see ourselves as one.
“E pluribus Unum” is engraved on our currency. “Out of many, one.” That was and can remain the vision, if we do not make ourselves blind to it.
(David Hirzel is an author of several books, the latest of which is “When Your Life Depends on It: Extreme Decision Making Lessons from the Antarctic,) and a Pacifica resident. Anyone wishing to write a My Turn for Battle Born Media may contact Sherman R. Frederick via email at email@example.com.)