An Appreciation of Independence! (Written July 4th)

Posted: July 5, 2012 in Food For Thought

Today we celebrated 236 years of Independence as a country from Great Britain. I often celebrate this day with my family and friends in my hometown watching the skies light up in variations of red, white, and blue; however, today was different, I was alone, yet this solitary moment did not deter me from enjoying the celebration.

I began my day flipping through the channels attempting to find something that would entertain me for the duration of the evening; as I enjoyed this national holiday of Independence in my apartment. I soon came across an interesting television program on the history channel, about the past presidents of this great nation. I watched of course challenging the validity of the seemly unbiased opinions of the narrator about the accomplishments of these men, and the legacy they left. This led me to really begin to think about why I even care to celebrate the independence of a country that continuously counts me out instead of in. Though I love my country, this led me to really ponder about what today means  – TO ME!

As my blood began to boil, a tweet from Melissa Harris – Perry (MSNBC News Anchor) came across my timeline. It was a video on the importance of Independence Day, and how she would remember today. I watched the video while simultaneously listening to the narrator speak about how so many presidents avoided the issues of inequality but fought overseas to ensure that injustices were eradicated on foreign soil. Though hypocrisy was rapid and pervasive throughout many of these administrations, I tuned them out and focused on this lead sentence from Mrs. Harris “The land on which they formed this Union was stolen; the hands with which they built this nation were enslaved; the women who birthed the citizens of the nation are second class” further validating my initial question of why I even celebrate this day, which ultimately has nothing to do with me.

In search of wisdom my mind was flooded with questions of loyalty to my liberties, but I realized that I was not doing anything by questioning my forced presence on this stolen land. I have every right to wonder why I am here, yet feel out of place and out of touch with a culture. Am I really thinking this hard though?!?! It’s not this serious let me see who cooking today and I will think about this later I thought to myself…… I would love to view the Houston fireworks show from the shoulder of the highway along side the countless number of Houstonians who would surround me.

I ultimately enjoyed the evening with a few friends, but throughout that period my mind was still racing on the question of the day. I have not culminated this thought, but I would like to stalk these ethereal ideas of my mind for a moment.

On July 4th, 1776, representatives within the thirteen original colonies signed the Declaration of Independence establishing our “Freedom” from Great Britain, but let’s fast forward to today. Let’s remove the veil of red, white, and blue, stop the fireworks and reflect on our motherland just for a moment.

We have integrated in every aspect of society except the church, elected representatives of all nationalities into office including the highest office in the land; President of the United States of America (Barack Hussain Obama). It would externally seem as if we have progressed as a nation in every facet eradicating every barrier that once excluded race, gender, sexual preference, and or any other group of people that can be discriminated against. However, I dare challenge that status-quo to say that as much as we have progressed as a nation, we have yet remained enslaved to the economic separations, job discrimination, voting suppression, and the fact that a country of immigrates banishes and overrules any ideal of providing amnesty to those who cross borders in pursuit of a DREAM with our neighboring country (Mexico). Despite the constant marches and litigation against the indignations within America for some reason these imperfections stream proudly throughout the skies around the globe with so many desiring to call this nation home.

I agree that this land of opportunity has given my ancestors and I so many stories that make our history unique. Though we have many moments that we fail to uphold the documents that govern our land we stand united. Though we cry in reflection of those that sacrificed their lives for what was “just” we still embrace hand in hand toward the goal of unity. We stand in fear and poignant thought after moments in which young men are beat in the streets by police officers, children are gunned down in neighborhoods, women are defiled and diminished, and those that practice particular religions are stereotyped and exiled. This is our story though! This is our Independence Day celebration, the journey of many in a nation of one.

Although I strongly disagree with the birth of our nation, I am proud to say that I am a citizen in this land of opportunity and daily thank God for the struggle that has made us so great.  In the words of Kanye “Sweet Baby Jesus We made it in America.”  Although much progress is still yet to come I appreciate the NOW moments of our nation.  The Affordable Health Care Act, The protection of Pell Grants, The HBCU initiative, The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Credit Card Consumer protection, and countless other things.  Though I can deliberate our many failures I would much rather think about our accomplishments and progressive moments.

Happy Independence Day!!

Submitted to the scholars,

In Leadership, Love, and Service.

K.  Colbert (Urban Philosopher) Image

  1. Terrance says:


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