Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Thoughts for this 4th of July

To say that I have been disillusioned and depressed about the direction our country has been headed for the past 6 ½ years is an understatement of epic proportions. I just cannot shake this terrible feeling of doom and gloom and I am overwhelmed with worry about whether we can undo the grave damage this current administration has done to this great country. And with each new day and all the revelations that come with them, my pessimism has been growing exponentially.

Thankfully I had a much needed reality check yesterday when my husband and I got to talk with our oldest son by phone, something we don’t get to do very often now since he joined the Peace Corps in March of this year.

I have missed my oldest son terribly. He and I used to spend hours just talking about politics and the state of our world and I would revel in his youthful optimism and idealism. But I would also beam with pride because he was always the first one to take action and become involved in causes about which he felt passionately. In other words, he was both a dreamer and a “make-it-happen-er”.

So when he told us early in his college career that he thought he might like to join the Peace Corps when he graduated, I knew he probably would. I also knew he was introducing the idea early and gently so that his father and I had time to get comfortable with it.

Needless to say, the flavor of our conversations is quite different now that he is so far away and removed from American politics. We fill our precious phone minutes mostly with talk about his work with the Peace Corps and we don’t usually mention the stuff going on here unless he specifically asks. Well yesterday he specifically asked and all I could do was spill out the doom and gloom that has been eating away at my gut for so long. And with each thing I’d recount I found myself talking faster and faster, frantically trying to get it all in before our almost inevitable loss of phone connection.

He listened with his usual patience as my husband and I took turns listing everything that had been happening. And after we finished our long litany of horrors we heard this big sigh coming from thousands of miles away. And then our son gave us the biggest 4th of July gift he could: a reality check.

He said to us, you know if I were still in the United States I’d be just as frustrated and angry as you both sound, but I am not in the United States right now and I have had the chance to stand back and see that even with all that is wrong right now, it is still the greatest country in the world.

That simple statement was just what I needed to hear. It took my son to remind me that even with everything that is going on right now, we still have so much for which to be thankful. So with that in mind, I am taking the rest of today off from seething to celebrate what has made this country great and I am putting George W. Bush and his cabal on a back burner (although I wish it could be a jail cell instead).

And tomorrow, I will start seething again.

In the meantime, Happy 4th of July.


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