It’s the Fourth of July, and with the state of the USA right now (Covid-19 quarantine, Black Lives Matter Protests, political unrest, accusations of violence and racism) you might be feeling somewhat guilty for wanting to celebrate this weekend. You might have conflicted feelings about uplifting the country’s successes. I understand.
The best analogy I can think of though is that the USA is like a rescue dog:
It’s excited and scared, constantly on edge but super loving. It chews through couch pillows and digs in the houseplants. It chases the cat. And barks at the mailman. But it also wags its tail a million times a minute when it learns a new trick and licks your hand when it gets a treat. It’s eager to please, but wary of strangers. It howls in the middle of the night, which drives you mad, but runs happy laps around the house when you get home from work which makes you incredibly grateful to have such a friend. It’s playful. And messy. It frustrates you But also makes you laugh. It’s a growing, silly, sad, broken, happy, worried, excited ball of energy and confusion and love and curiosity. And it’s still learning.
The best thing we can do this Fourth of July is metaphorically pet the US on the head, tell it its a ‘good boy’ for its steps toward equality, for its achievements, for its hope and effort. And yet not forget that it still needs teaching, needs reprimanding for wrongdoing; it still needs reminders not to pee in the house or growl at the children.
Give the USA credit for the right its done. Then remind it that it needs to do better. Work harder. Every single day.