I’m not celebrating America today

It’s the Fourth of July. I’m enjoying day two of five days off of work. I’m enjoying time with my family and friends. I’m enjoying good food and warm weather. I’m celebrating all of this. But I am not celebrating America.

Yesterday I saw pictures of desperate people packed into cages. There was a baby being held by an adult behind chain link fence. Last week I cried on the way to work as a reporter described the conditions that children were being kept in. Babies taking care of babies because no one else will. Homeland Security audited daycare teachers. My friends and neighbors of color are further marginalized and treated as criminals for living normal lives. Women’s rights are being eroded by whit men. I can’t turn my back on these

One of the most recognizable symbols of the country says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” We don’t mean that though. We’re closing our borders. Shutting them out. Caging them in conditions that would get you arrested if you did it to animals.

Hard working people, citizens or not, documented or not, are moving our economy forward with their labor. They pay taxes like the rest of us but don’t enjoy the same freedoms. The police we all pay for treat me with friendly smiles and them with handcuffs or worse.

I’m an American citizen, born and raised in Minnesota. I’ve marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in the Fourth of July parade. I’ve watched the fireworks light the sky behind the Washington monument on the mall. I’ve felt a sense of pride for being an American citizen. Something I had to do nothing to achieve. But I don’t today.

We’ve never been a perfect country but we’ve been been better. I’m disgusted that our president and his supporters think that spending $2 million of park service money to roll tanks around is valuable while people sit in cages. I’m disgusted by the way my fellow citizens of color are marginalized and criminalized. I’m disgusted that white men are slowly taking away women’s rights. I’m just disgusted and that isn’t a mood that sparks celebration.

Enjoy the fireworks, your family and friends, the warm weather and the good food. Celebrate that you have all these things. Think about what you can do for those that don’t. I’ll call my representatives (again) and ask them what they are celebrating for. I’ll give money to organizations that provide legal support to those impacted by the policies that disgust me. And I’ll keep fighting to make my country something I can be proud of.

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