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God, Bless America

Once upon a time, the 4th of July was one of my favorite holidays, second only to Thanksgiving. Being an Army brat, I loved the pageantry, the red, white, and blue waving in the breeze, this country my dad was willing to risk his life to defend.

In the past, I decorated for Independence Day almost as much as I do for Christmas: red, white and blue dishes, bunting across the front porch, a 4th of July themed tree. The parade in historic downtown included not only a Marine honor guard, but bands, floats, decorated bicycles, parents pulling their kids in wagons. It was Americana at its finest. I would host big parties, had a playlist hours long with songs about the States, songs like Route 66, North to Alaska, Sweet Home Alabama, California Girls, Battle of New Orleans, Georgia on My Mind, and of course, Galveston, and others not so innocent, like Fortunate Son and Born in the USA. After dark, we’d all gather on my verandah from where we could see the fireworks show over the Gulf.

I still love my country, but right now I don’t like her very much.

The country I loved so dearly has changed. There are no filters, so sense of decorum. Racism and bigotry are rampant. My youngest says he’s okay with this because he knows who to avoid, but I know it hurts him and I am frightened for him. Kids are being killed in schools but with the mere mention of banning assault rifles many Americans start channeling the Founding Fathers and shouting about their 2nd Amendment rights. Rights, right? But as the right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Supreme Court of the United States, women’s rights – specifically, abortion – are being taken away, with other rights and freedoms listed as the next targets by some justices, encouraging someone, anyone to bring a case before them.

My social media is filled with disdain for the “baby killers” by people who are opposed to government programs to help babies, kids, and their mothers. These people are not pro-life! They are pro-birth! I am not necessarily pro-abortion, but I am pro-choice and will defend that right to the end. Maybe I have an old copy of the Bible, but mine says I’m to just love one another and let God sort them out.

But this really isn’t concern about babies. If it were, there would be free maternal healthcare and no hospital bill when the baby is born. There would be free diapers, free formula, free childcare. If this were about babies, there would be months and months of parental leave. If this were about babies, we would give them – and their mothers – the support they need not only to survive, but to flourish.

Make no mistake: this is all about control. I’m not sure why powerful men are so fearful of women, but they are – always have been, from the time of Christ to the crones in Ireland to the witches in Salem to now. Hopefully, this will not always be the case.

Members of Congress are holding hearings on the January 6th Insurrection. Shocking details are coming to light about the measures, means and men (and women) who were dead set on preventing a peaceful transition of power after a fair and free election and overthrowing our government. Once upon a time, I called myself a patriot but not anymore. That title has been taken over by the far-right wing, people filled with hate and bent on vengeance. Also in my Bible, “vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord”. Maybe they’re too busy Bible thumping to read the Word.

The news reported that 51 immigrants died this week in the hot trailer of an 18-wheeler as they were being smuggled into the United States, people who were willing to risk their lives for the opportunity to be free, for the American dream.

My dad was willing to die for this dream.

I want our country to be worthy.

I want to like her again.

Dear God, please bless America.

Land that I love.

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