When I was growing up on the east coast, 4th of July was always a wonderful day. My father, a WWII vet, loved fireworks and imparted that combination of awe, excitement, and patriotism to my sister and me. We'd head to the next town over and stake out a position on the grass and wait for the amazing display from a barge on the river. It was always over way too fast, the "big finale" being the part you looked forward to the most while knowing that it signaled the end.
Of course, I want everyone to have a good day. I want children to have wonderful experiences like the one I was able to have as a child. No one wants to be a killjoy.
I also want our celebration of the 4th of July to be a genuine one – that is, a celebration of freedom.
It's hard to feel free when 6 people are dead and more than 2 dozen hospitalized for the sin of attending a 4th of July parade, when mass shootings have become a daily event and our elected lawmakers fail to take action that would make a difference.
It's hard to feel free when 50% of the population has just been told that their bodies are not theirs to control, that the state can make one of the most fundamental and life-changing decisions for them.
It's hard to feel free when in the same decision, one of our Supreme Court justices threatens to eliminate the right for heterosexual couples to use contraception, the right for homosexual couples to have sex, and the right for gay people to get married.
It's hard to feel free when racially-motivated voter restriction laws have been passed across the country, preventing full participation in our democracy.
It's hard to feel free when Black Americans are incarcerated at nearly five times the rate of white Americans.
As civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer said, nobody’s free until everybody’s free.
Meanwhile, Davis's "celebration" continues as planned even with known harms of fireworks both for those who are attending and not attending, spewing toxic chemicals into the air, triggering PTSD in humans, and scaring animals into bolting.
When is Davis going to have a more appropriate celebration, one that is healthy and recognizes the liberties we have as well as the liberties we still have to fight for?
When are we going to start fighting for our liberties?