An Honest 4th of July

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An Honest 4th of July

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”

(Ida B. Wells-Barnett)

Many of you know that I don't celebrate Independence Day. It’s not because I am not patriotic, or because I don't believe in the promise and potential of our country. I do. Ironically, it is that very confidence that persuades me not to celebrate the holiday.

The Why

The whole point of the holiday is to celebrate our independence as a nation from British rule. I don’t have a problem with that per se. What I do have a problem with is the lack of authenticity around what our Founding Fathers intended, and more relevantly, how it continues to harm us to this day.

I know, I know… party pooper! Can’t we just have fun?

I am all for a good party. As such, I will be grilling some food if it doesn’t rain and spending time with my family… just not to celebrate the founding of our country.

The Lie

I was taught in school, (and through Schoolhouse Rock,) that a bunch of people left England in order to find a better place “to call their own.” Eventually they got tired of King George taxing everything they did in the new place without giving them any say in governance and rebelled. Happy Birthday, United States of America. No more kings. We will govern ourselves and create “a free country.”

All the squish. So much squish.

Land Grab

The British way of doing things at that time was, “I see it. I want it. I take it. I define the rules, and I say that land ownership is a thing, and this particular land is mine. I am the central reference point of all things. My way is the God-ordained way. Anyone who disagrees is a despicable heathen to be killed or enslaved to my service, in the name of my God and my Sovereign.”

Spain and Portugal had already come before this time, and they were unspeakably violent toward the Indigenous residents that hindered their agenda. The French came as well and weren’t any better. Britain ultimately won battles against the Spanish, Portuguese and French governments over the land that did not rightfully belong to any of them. They took it over by force to suit their purposes without regard for the people, the land, the biome, the balance, the history, the traditions, the hard-earned experiential knowledge of what worked and did not work here. There could not possibly be wisdom here among these “godless savages” that they might have learned from and so they set out to destroy anything that might thwart them.

Our Base

This is not a stellar foundation as we consider the health and wellbeing of our citizenry. The message is clear: Those with power who are willing to decimate an entire way of being will be granted more wealth, more power, and more ability to subjugate those who stand in their way. That thread has persisted throughout the history of the United States.

As a therapist dedicated to the wellbeing of the humans, I can’t in good conscience celebrate this.

As a descendent of people who were killed, enslaved, stripped of all rights and marginalized for being multiethnic, as well as as a descendent of those who did the killing, enslaving and stripping, I can’t in good conscience celebrate this.

As a human being who cares deeply about all of the organics, (people, animals, birds, fish, plants, waters, soil, etc.,) and believes that it is empirically valid that “All things affect all things,” I can’t in good conscience celebrate this.

Power Grab

Our founding documents are written with elegant words that paint a picture of equality for all and a voice in how we are governed. To understand original intent, historical documents must be read in their original context. The documents that established the United States speak of all of these wonderful “God-given rights” being available to “people.” However, the “people” being referred to consisted exclusively of some humans who were identified as male, considered to be only of the Caucasian “race,” who owned land. Everyone else was to be subject to those men. You know, sort of like British nobles who were doing the same thing in the Motherland.

The entire structure of our country is designed to retain a hierarchy in which those with wealth and power retain as much wealth and power as possible. All others exist exclusively for the comfort and service of the powerful.

Still, Today

One place where this is starkly seen is in the history of racism in America. I’ve been engaged in formal and informal “racial reconciliation” dialogues literally since I was a child. You know what happens in these dialogues when someone identified as not-white says something that makes those identified as only white uncomfortable? The entire conversation shifts to cater to that supposedly only-white person’s comfort. “I'm not a racist!” They cry. They expect to be assured that they are decent humans, not responsible for the changes we need to make to respect all of our people. They implicitly and explicitly demand to be restored to a state of comfort.

There is a fundamental belief that those of the cultural dominant are not to be discomfited, and that it is the purpose and obligation of everyone else to sustain comfort for people of privilege.

We have changed the external appearance of our unbalanced, faulty foundation, but the design remains intact.

Out of Balance

We have used the lie of biological race to support this dangerously unbalanced foundation. We have used genocide to support it. We have used our court systems, academia, religion, political structures, skewed and grossly altered history and historical records, economic policies, access to advancement, access to basic human provisions including medical care, food and shelter, to support it.

I will not support it.

American Identity

“When we don’t know who we are, we act like someone else.” It’s time for all to learn all of who we are, and to make choices accordingly. There is no hope of creating something finer if we let our fear keep us from looking at whatever is true, regardless of how it may challenge our assumptive narratives.

Our country is currently out of balance, stemming from our fundamental resistance to the fact that we are interdependent organics in an organic world. This is the belief that the invaders tried to annihilate to take this land to begin with.

All things affect all things. All things in a circle. The Independence found in those truths can sustain us for centuries, as it did those who were here before colonization. Why settle for hot dogs? I want better for all of us.

Are you ready to consider how some of your ingrained beliefs might be shaping the way you think and live? Contact Tiffany today. Let’s explore.