As Candice and I were walking back from today’s July 4th parade in Takoma Park, we overheard two women—both wearing an “I Care Do U” sticker—talking about the diversity seen in this progressive enclave from the participants of this most all-American of holidays.
There’s your medical marijuana advocates, Christian evangelicals, 9/11 truthers, Republican and Democratic candidates for county executive, the First Panamanian Marching Band of Maryland, Doggie Washerette, the MAGA (Mobsters are Governing America) PAC, all the public works vehicles (love the lawn mower guy spinning around in circles), Boy and Girl Scouts, the Intergalactic Female Motorcycle Federation, the Silver Spring Yacht Club, and the Takoma Park Lesbians and Gays all mixed together.
And don’t forget about the Reel Mower Precision Drill Team.
There’s a lot of chatter in the right wing entertainment universe these days about political correctness shutting down free speech. But today’s experience in Takoma Park shows that this narrative about the progressives not hearing from different voices isn’t necessarily true. Everyone had their say, everyone was treated with respect (if some were treated a bit more enthusiastically than others), and it all happened in a celebratory, civil, and often humorous way.
I was thinking about this as I read Dana Milbank’s column in today’s Washington Post about the battle for freedom. Milbank notes that “Every 75 years or so in our history, Americans have renewed their commitment to freedom.” The first time was our Civil War. That was followed some 75 years later by our emergence from the Great Depression and the entrance into WWII. Now, we are just past 75 years from that fight, and Milbank notes that much of the country now fears the loss of basic freedoms as Americans. In a call for us to rededicate ourselves to freedom, he includes:
“Freedom from…constant attacks on women, immigrants, people of color, gay people and Muslims.
Freedom to work and live without discrimination, harassment and violence because of your gender, race or religion.
Freedom to get medical care when you or your children are sick.
Freedom to earn a living wage, to attend college or get job training, and to retire in security.
Freedom from a rigged economy in which the top 1 percent own more than the bottom 90 percent combined.
Freedom to marry whom you choose.
Freedom to make decisions about your own body.
Freedom to send your kids to school without fear for their safety.
Freedom to breathe clean air, to drink clean water, to live on a habitable planet.
And freedom to speak, to protest and to publish without the threat of violence.”
We’ve never been the country we—or our founders—imagined us to be. But we can be dedicated to freedom and continue to push toward the type of country we hope to be.
Happy July 4th.
More to come…