“I just don’t feel like celebrating the 4th of July this year.”
“I’m not in the mood for fireworks, parades, or any of that stuff.”
“I am so embarrassed by Trump that I feel like a hypocrite celebrating the 4th of July,”
“Our country is doomed. What’s there to celebrate?”
These are the sentiments I am hearing from people in real life and from some of my fellow activists on the Internet. I admit I’m not in a celebratory mood myself. But I am making a conscious choice to celebrate Independence Day.
This year, I choose to celebrate the Americans in The Resistance, the ones who are actively opposing Trump’s behavior and agenda. I choose to celebrate the Americans who participated in the Women’s March, the Science March, and other demonstrations. I choose to celebrate the Internet activists who organize the opposition and keep them informed, the ones who remind us that #ThisIsNotNormal. I choose to celebrate those ordinary citizens who repeatedly call their representatives and storm townhall meetings. I choose to celebrate the comedians who make us laugh at this administration and the musicians who are releasing new protest music. I choose to celebrate the fact that we can demonstrate, we can protest, we can make fun of our elected officials, we can express our anger through art, music, drama, poetry, and prose.
In some countries, I would get shipped off to the gulag simply for writing this blog post. And if life in this country becomes unbearable, I am free to leave. In my novel Red Flags, the characters are trapped behind the Iron Curtain. Even when my main character is allowed to attend figure skating competitions outside the Soviet Union, she is under constant surveillance. She is told not to speak to foreigners, not to speak to the media, not to venture beyond the prescribed boundaries. She is well aware that KGB agents are watching her, even when she can’t see them.
But isn’t our country headed in the same direction?
It could go that way– if we let it, if we prematurely resign ourselves to such a bleak future. But as long as we continue to stand and fight, I will celebrate.
Happy Independence Day!