July 2018
On the Edge of Common Sense

Hope in the Summer of Discontent

In this summer of discontent, we still have reasons to be thankful to be an American. This Fourth of July, we as a people will fill our city parks and backyards, watch the fireworks, grill our burgers and fly flags on our front porches. Once again displaying our loyalty to a concept … a constitution … a country, representing something bigger than us as individuals.

We can look with pride and compassion on the thousands of military and civilians who have and continue to fight the war on terror. The Mideast fighting wore us out, but our armies stood strong and stayed together. They represent us as a people with fair but ferocious dignity in the face of back-shooting fanatics hiding behind their women’s burqas.

We as citizens can also take some comfort in the generosity of our neighbors from coast to coast. There is hardly a person who is not within two degrees of separation from a friend or family member who has suffered from the economy – a lost job, a late payment, a repossessed house or car, etc. The outpouring of help, in time, trade or money by individuals, companies and taxpayer-supported programs, has kept the vast majority of those affected off the streets and from going hungry.

We have watched our dysfunctional Congress and White House dither and pose, pontificate and piddle, Tweedledee and Tweedledum … all thunder and no rain. Yet most of us still get up and go to work intent on doing our job. We are the teeming masses who keep the wheel turning, the lights on and gas in the car … just trying to do the right thing.

We somehow manage to stay positive. I believe this comes from a deeply ingrained sense of belonging, of being an American. We are rock-solid in the knowledge that our country was founded on faith in God and the principles of freedom. That we as individuals can make a difference and as a family, united, we are a formidable force.

During Fourth of July week, flags will still be flying in our front yards, grills still on the deck, burnt sparklers stickin’ out of the trash can and lawn chairs in disarray – all remnants of our 242nd birthday celebration. We march back to work with a renewed sense of what we each are part of … our country, the United States. We are secure in the knowledge that, regardless of the challenges from home and abroad, when the chips are down we will stand together because … we belong to one another.

I pledge allegiance to my neighbors, my family, my community and to the flag of our country, the United States of America.

 

Baxter Black is a former large animal veterinarian who can be followed nationwide through this column, National Public Radio, public appearances, television, and also through his books, cds, videos and website, www.baxterblack.com.