By De Elizabeth
The Fourth of July feels different this year.
While I appreciate having time off from work, a chance to sleep in, and several hours to devote to spending time outside and in the sunshine, I don’t really have a desire to celebrate in any traditional ways. I don’t want to barbecue, eat red white and blue ice pops, bake an apple pie, or put on a stars-n-striped bathing suit. I don’t want to go watch fireworks or Instagram myself on a pool float. I don’t want to do any of these things because Donald Trump is president, and I’m truly afraid for our country’s future.
Just yesterday, Trump tweeted out a video of himself “punching” a CNN graphic, in a super on-the-nose visualization of his distaste for the media. A few days earlier, he insulted a female journalist via social media in a blatantly sexist way. Obviously his sexism is nothing new, as we saw it throughout his campaign, yet many continue to be “surprised” when he repeats such behaviors as president. I’m not sure why anyone thought a 70-year-old man would change.
Some might write off Trump’s social media behaviors as a “distraction,” cautioning those opposed to him not to get caught up in focusing too much on what he says online. But I’d argue that there’s plenty to focus on, as the things he says on Twitter are a direct reflection of who he is at his core: a sexist, narcissistic, bully – one that is dismantling the country as we know it, piece by piece.
It seems as though every day there’s something new to feel frightened of. One minute, it’s the healthcare bill, the next, it’s Trump’s policies regarding climate change. It’s the war on reproductive rights, the steps backwards we’ve taken for the LGBTQ community. It’s the xenophobic rhetoric, the perpetuation of hate, racism, and fear. It’s all of this, and knowing that over 90% of the people who supported Trump still do so. After all, he showed us who he is during the campaign. Some people voted in spite of those things, others because of them. At this point, there is no difference; we are all to blame.
So it’s hard this year to get excited over parties decorated in “patriotic” gear. It’s hard to celebrate our country when it feels like so much of our country has betrayed the very ideals on which it was founded. It’s hard to believe in America when so much damage has been done and so much hatred has been spread.
Maybe this year, instead of celebrating the United States, we make a promise to repair it. We make a promise to fight even harder – to attend all the rallies, not just the ones that single out Trump, but everything that matters: fighting for Planned Parenthood, for black lives, for trans youth, for immigrants, for Muslim voices, for marriage equality. This year, instead of hot dogs and hamburgers, let’s just promise to keep calling our senators. Let’s pledge to vote in the smaller elections, and encourage others to do the same.
Maybe this July 4th, that’s all that’s needed – a promise to do better, to try harder, to move forward.
Put down the fireworks. Choose hard work instead.
Featured photo courtesy of Victor Lozano