Feeling festive? I hope so. :)

I've struggled with feeling inspired to celebrate, I confess.

There's clearly much turmoil in the world right now. Pandemics, paradigm-shifting debates, political unrest, not to mention community and personal struggles, economic or otherwise. We're feeling a bit of pressure, for sure. I've been tempted to just binge-eat more of the edible cookie dough I mentioned earlier in the week while binge-watching something to distract me until 2020 ends.

But yet, tomorrow we celebrate America. It wouldn't be right to sit it out. Despite the problems we're facing as a nation and even the wrenching social turmoil, we are still America. I'm thankful that we still have the freedom to disagree. We still have the freedom to fight what we believe in our hearts is right. We still have the right to stand and demand better from our leaders.

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The truth is, this nation was built on struggle. It began in rebellion against what we believed was injustice by monarch ruling from a place that more and more began to feel like a foreign land to the colonists. They were taxed and treated unjustly. They were subjected to the heavy hand of the privileged and worked hard to do the best they could with what they were allowed.

They prospered, yes. At the same time, it became clear that ultimately they'd have to stand up against the powers that held the colonies in a weakened position. Only then could the full potential of this nation be realized. But at first, it wasn't pretty, was it?

Today, in addition to a pandemic, we are struggling for justice, as well.

Right now, during the struggle, let's be kind to each other--even those with whom you disagree politically. Maybe them especially. Be safe. Wear the mask. Learn to appreciate nuance and difference--not because you have to agree. But because honest discussion leads us to truth. Which we can take and use, hopefully, to build better realities.

Very often turmoil and struggles, though dark and difficult while we walk through them, lead to real change for the better. This story is as old as time. It's a story Americans know very well. And since we know this story can end well, it can give us hope. If we'll allow it access to our hearts and minds. And that is something to celebrate indeed. That is part of what makes us American.

Long live freedom. May truth, love, and justice reign in our hearts and in this country.

Happy Birthday America.