It's America's birthday once again, and like any birthday, it's time to celebrate but while celebrating, it's also time to reflect. I can't help thinking that it's an interesting time in our history. We seem to be at a crossroads with the ideals of progressive thinking splitting drastically from traditional conservative views. Nothing illustrates this more than the recent reactions to the Supreme Court ruling which propelled us out of one element of our backwardness. In the land of the equality, we can now hold our heads up knowing that our laws allow for equal protection of love.
Of course not everybody sees it that way. There are those who want to keep the status quo. I listen to them use religion as a shield to justify bigotry and know they are the same people who decades ago used religion to justify separate but equal, who a century and a half ago used it to justify slavery. What's infuriating about this argument is that allowing gays to marry has absolutely zero affect on their religion. When I hear them talking about county clerks not issuing marriage licenses because of religious objections, I can't help but think that if your religious beliefs interfere with your government job, then you are not qualified to serve in a country that clearly lays out a separation of church and state.
While there are certain things that give me hope, there are far more that cause frustration. We are still an incarceration nation, one where kickbacks and the big prison industry are controlling sentencing and destroying people's lives. We still live in a country ruled by the richest of the rich, whose money buys endless influence among the politicians who pretend to represent us. We still live in a country where corporate profits rise and rise and rise, while wages stand still and prices of goods go up. We still live in a country that spends exponentially more on the business of war than on the business of bettering the lives of its citizens.
This current presidential election cycle, one that really began three years ago, I feel more disillusioned with our government than I ever have in the past. I see very little difference between the parties, except for the same social wedge issues. Not that it really matters if there are few differences, because none of them seem to be talking about anything that matters...with the one exception of Bernie Sanders. His campaign of ideas gives me hope, but that hope rests on the chance that my fellow Americans will finally wake up and see how they are being manipulated. Not sure that will happen, but for the sake of my daughter's future, I hope they do.