This article has become something entirely other than what I originally intended. A few weeks before the 4th of July, I had the great idea to write an article discussing how, in spite of everything, I am still proud to be an American. In spite of a presidency that becomes more of a joke every day. In spite of the poverty, racism, hatred, injustice, prejudice, and discrimination. In spite of the brutality against our LGBTQ+ citizens. In spite of the water crisis in Flint and the war raging between police and our black citizens and the hatred against Muslims citizens.
But that article sat in my drafts.
The more I pondered on it, the more I began to realize that if I feel pride in spite of those things, it is because I am privileged, and I do not really have to suffer through these experiences.
I am a white, straight, middle-class, cis-gendered female who is receiving a college education with little debt following me as I prepare to graduate in the next year. This alone means I am more privileged than many in our country, and if I allow myself to not pay attention to what is going on around me, it is easy to celebrate my country, even in such a time as this. This is because, on the whole, this country has no issue with me because, generally speaking, I fit the "mold." I am a white, straight, middle-class, cis-gendered female.
To say we as Americans have it as hard as any other given country is, of course, not necessarily true, but to ignore the issues we have breeding in this country is also to do a massive disservice to the many peoples who are affected by these injustices daily. On July 4th, 2017, there were so many poor people, brown people, gay people, trans* people, non-Christian (though mostly Muslim) people and people across the political spectrum who felt that they had a hard time participating in the celebrations of a country that hates them.
How can we celebrate a country who hates, and elects a leader who hates, our own people?
While I love this land I call home, I am proud of those who fight to protect this land and those who live in it, and I am proud to be called an American, I do not always feel proud of what is taking place in this country these days.
Because I am proud to be an American, I want to continue to work for a better America wherein all citizens feel heard, feel safe, and have equal rights under the law. I no longer want to feel ashamed to be an American because our citizens are afraid in this country. If this is truly the land of the free and the home of the brave, we all deserve better.
If you enjoyed your 4th without a second thought, perhaps you should consider why, and if everyone around you was able to do the same.