Tomorrow is the 4th of July, and it’s a day that American’s celebrate and commemorate our Independence. For many of us, like myself growing up in the 50’s and 60 ’s, we believed in the American Dream. That dream included my grandparents and great-grandparents who immigrated here from the pogroms in Russia. I have shared the story of my Zayde Friedman (grandfather) who came to the United States sponsored by a cousin to find work and a home, so he could bring his wife, my Baube (grandmother) to the land where the streets with paved with gold. My Zayde expected nothing from anyone other than to provide them with his tailoring skills so he could afford to rescue his wife from the diabolical evil that was happening in Russia in the early 1900’s.
Both my Zayde and Baube learned English and became United States citizens, and they worked to prove they were worthy to live here. They raised a family and their children worked, paid taxes, and raised their children. I too began working and paying taxes at a young age, and I have respected this country my whole life.
Freedom is not a given, it is earned by working together and collaborating. We must speak in tones that do not hurt and cause wars (words can be as damaging as not more than a weapon of mass destruction.) Words are difficult to retract and playing with words is deceitful as well.
To maintain our independence, we must be willing to be dependent when our weaknesses need to be strengthened and when our strengths need to be weakened or slackened.
On July 4th it may be a perfect day for all of us to think about what might happen if we choose to continue the arguments over who is right, who is wrong, and the need to have the last word. Being independent is not about having it your way and bullying others around you. Instead, it is allowing others to share through a civil dialogue.