On July 4, we celebrate the independence we won from Britain – not our independence from each other. In the United States of America, we Americans are coming together this summer in extraordinary ways that we could not have anticipated a year ago.
We are uniting to fight a global pandemic. Some sought to divide us in this cause. There were those who called COVID-19 a hoax and then downplayed its dangers as it spread from state to state. You don’t need to stay home and wear masks in public to prevent its spread, they told us. We were told we don’t need more testing to track and better combat our common, if invisible, enemy.
We were told to ignore reports that other countries were showing that mass-scale testing and tracking were working to overcome what has become a world war against a deadly virus with no cure. So, Americans in most states are uniting to call for more testing and more tracking.
Even amid growing casualties in many states this summer, we were being told the war has already been won. We were told, against all evidence, to feel free to put the masks away, open up for business, go to the beach or attend a rally.
Now, even once defiant governors of states, like Texas and Florida, have united with states like New York and California to say, “Yes, we must still wear masks in public, socially isolate when possible and slow the opening of our local economies to save American lives.”
This summer, we are uniting in every state to protest a history of police brutality against our fellow African-Americans. We are uniting against the last vestiges of an ugly era of brutality against the very freedoms of our fellow Americans. We finally are removing statues and flags celebrating those who long ago fought to defend slavery in this country.
On this year’s Independence Day, the great majority of us will not see Confederate flags fly anywhere near parades celebrating the United States of America. We will no longer celebrate the flags or statues of history’s traitors to our country.
Even as the White House and states like Texas lead court battles to dismantle the Affordable Care Ac,t that offers less expensive health care insurance to 23 million Americans, the majority of us in every state are fighting to save it. Americans are uniting to protect each other’s health.
The voices of those who would divide us are few, but they are loud, and their voices are amplified by political leaders and their supporters who only want to stand for some of us – or for none of us who are not wealthy. Those voices carry to our allies in other countries who fear for us. We are a young country, and they see us stumbling.
But we are righting ourselves. The majority of us are acting to correct old and newer mistakes. The majority of us share our country’s founders’ goals to be a good, just and compassionate country.
On this Independence Day, even at a time of old political divisions and a new and dangerous pandemic, we can celebrate that we can come together as a United States of America.