Happy Friday citizens! Guess how I started my day:
|I have dishes…sometimes it’s just more fun to eat my oatmeal out of a pot….don’t judge me|
Today I am feeling particularly patriotic. It might be because spring is in the air, and Seattle is abloom.
It might be because the increased mileage I am running for peak training week has bumped the endorphin content in my blood to dangerous levels.
|These colors DO run…lots and lots o miles|
I think that it is because there have been a few news items recently that are making me proud to be an American. Granted, there is also some legislative and judicial tomfoolery occurring that has me extremely worried (I’m looking at YOU McCutcheon vs. FEC and no limits on aggregate donations to political campaigns from individuals …combined with the Citizens United decision, this worries me quite a bit). However, this post is not about what I personally perceive as problematic in politics. This is a post meant to CELEBRATE the freedom and individuality that exemplify the American Ideal. As Americans we may not be perfect, but we are FIERCELY independent, creative, and unique. That is what makes this country great!
I have recently been following the news coverage commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Legislation of 1964. Even though the bill itself was signed in July, a summit took place this week at the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library in Texas. President Obama gave a fantastic speech reflecting upon how far we have come as a nation…without losing sight of the challenges we still face.
In keeping with the theme of civil rights, Hillary Clinton gave a FEROCIOUS speech for women’s rights this week in San Jose. This speech, in combination with Obama’s recent executive order on equalpay for women, make me optimistic about the direction our country is heading with respect to gender equality. Not to mention the fact that my home state of Colorado is in the process of enacting a progressive reproductive freedom act!
Finally, Derrick Gordon, the shooting guard for UMass Amherst, bravely and publicly came out—becoming the first openly gay division one athlete in the United States. This is a great big step forward in terms of LBGTQ equality. Only five states remain with gay marriage bans that are not being actively challenged. Just two years ago there were NO openly gay athletes. Now supporting gay marriage has become a cultural norm, as demonstrated by the extremely publicdownfall of Mozilla’s Brandon Eich.
Let me be the first to admit that there are still a LOT of problems with these good old United States. A few high-profile announcements and speeches don’t magically eliminate bigotry and hatred. We still have a lot of ducks that we need to get into a proverbial row: income inequality, environmental protection, overseas interventionism…the list is long. However, even though we are a work in progress, we are MAKING progress.
Freedom, uniqueness, and individuality are as deeply rooted into the American Ideal as apple pie, iPhones, and fireworks on the fourth of July (yes I am aware that many of those things come from China- we’re an inconsistent nation of immigrants). Today I want to celebrate my identity as an American with some awesome Americans who stand up for these qualities so that America really can be the land of the free.
Let’s all take a moment and give an All-American virtual high five to LBJ, MLK, Malcom X, and Cesar Chavez; Susan B. Anthony, Susan Sontag, and Gloria Steinam; Harvey Milk, Dan Savage, and Tammy Baldwin…the list goes on and on. I celebrate our country because even if our America’s establishment is unjust, there are always AMERICANS ready to fight for everyone’s freedom. I apologize if this post is getting sentimental, but sometimes I’m a sentimental guy.
Let’s hear it readers:
Who are YOUR favorite Americans?
What is inspiring you on this fantastic Friday?