I Can Find No Pride

I can find no pride. There is no United States of America left to celebrate. Someone, please, prove me wrong. I’m finding it extremely difficult to celebrate Independence Day this 2020 holiday weekend, and I am sure many feel the same sentiment.

Today, too much in life is filled with established scientific fact discarded as a hoax. Ever-prevalent ignorance runs rampant and unchecked. Prolific hatred, ever-present strife, and constant capitalistic ego take away the meaning of pride in the country in which I live. Do not get me wrong, I've been a supporter of the American ideals in my past. However, the more education I receive, the more research and investigations I do bring me awareness. Yet, that more knowledge I have of our American society, the more that utopian vision becomes entombed in my childhood fantasy. Flagrant disregard for the foundation of our country and oppression based on unsubstantiated pseudo-science is only the beginning. Blatant genocidal practices shrouded in ad hominem strawman debates, and the continuation of the oppressed becoming the oppressors drags me down. It pulls me down so far that I no longer find pride in the country of my birth.

We, as a people, no longer seem to hold certain truths to be self-evident. The Declaration birthing our nation tells us that all people are created equal, human rights are unalienable, and restriction of those rights unconscionable. I, for one, support all my friends who are battling the bitter white supremacy STILL entrenched in our society. “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” delineated in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America is a right acknowledged for all human beings. Freedoms are granted, as long as they ascribe to the societal norm. You have the freedom to practice your religion, as long as it is God-fearing and the God of modern Christians, far-flung from the one their own deified prophet raised. Free speech now means you can say anything without impunity, and the press is no longer open to report on the governance. Assembly freedoms are met with tear gas and rubber bullets, emptying sanctified and respected ground for an unethically shallow photo opportunity. Redressing our grievances falls on deaf ears and funneled coffers promising a comfortable life for those in power. The loss of American freedom has become revoltingly unpalatable, and I have yet to leave the First Amendment.

This opinionated disgust may seem rhetorical yet ask yourselves some disturbing questions. How repairable is this situation in which we live? How do we make a future where our children’s children can find pride in a country which is vacuously claimed through greed and power? Do we ignore the festering infection and rely on far-flung ideas of hope and faith? Do we fight fire with fire and conflate one viewpoint with another, compounding the divide? Do we revolt against centuries of false social supremacy assumptions based on faulty science and hope to learn from the lessons of history? But from whose history are we learning, or through who’s historical lens will we be made to learn?

The Jamesian ideas of liberty, of which the majority of our country found it’s architecture, would leave everyone to their own just comings and goings, aside from flagrant abuse of power. What justice can be found in oceans of blood and millions of broken backs? The Rawlsian sense of justice appears to be a solid template from which to repair our shattered society. Yet, many have concerns over reparations for past wrongs in that ideal. We need to also want to have justice for what the Declaration allows – all humanity, unalienable in their rights to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” None of those foundational beginnings are present in whole for this country in which I write freely to express toward deafened ears of apathetic fatigue. Our hope and faith must remain in our children and their children’s children to borrow from non-divisive foundational social engineering. They must dispense with the old and discordant paradigms, replacing them with inclusivity.

This divisive nature appears to find its cluster of original contagion entrenched in millennia of worn and exhausted freedom fighters looking to change the status quo from an establishment of a powerful and wealthy elite. “That’s the way it’s always been” is the cry from those youthful change-makers who see no end, and no ability make an end to that status quo. One step forward, two steps back, may seem to be a great way to dance, yet the caller’s call is rooted in oppressive and abusive moves. Yet, it’s a dance we have taught our children, emulating behaviors to the point of seeing their vile nature as art or worthy of historical recognition. Your race is my race, yet race, in and of itself, is based on faulty pseudo-science meant to denigrate and enslave. Simple facts, yet facts that need to be taught and not swept under the carpetbaggers' trappings.

This returns me to my inability to have pride in this holiday weekend. The current establishment sees pride in this abusive system and will not let their talons of power loosen for anything less than greed and injustice against the marginalized, anyone not them. This is why I find serious issues having pride in the broken and seemingly irreparable land, which I cannot find affection.

Taunts and cheers of “USA! USA! USA!” ring out across the land. Do they know there is no longer the United States of the Americas? There is no unity in these states. Neighbor fights with neighbor over a flag, over colors, and over ‘the other’ with whom they cannot find commonality. Family fights with family. Brother and sister are lost because of differing opinions. Opinions may differ, yet oppressive paradigms and regimes remain the same. Borrowing from a now cult classic, “So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause.” The unspeakable sadness professed by that science-fictional politician rings true now. There is no United States of America left to celebrate. There is no Old Glory to revere on a pole. There are no “oohs and ahhs” to exhale at colorful munitions overhead. There is no pride to be had in this broken country. There is no United States of America left to celebrate. Someone, please, prove me wrong.

But wait, just when it seems to be worse… What I can find pride in during this summer celebration by some is my family, of all forms and origins. I can find pride in my family, which accepts me for all my cracks and faults. I have pride in friendships that support each other and allow everyone to grow and evolve. I can find pride in seeing the colors of the flowers in the garden, the lush nutrition growing out back, and feeling the joy of a beautiful sight rowing in on a warm summer’s morn. I have pride in the knowledge that is being honed and a philosophy that remains strong. I have pride in the experiences of my life. I have pride, but I can find no pride for a country which has died. Perhaps it has evolved from fictional boundaries to states of awareness. In that, I believe I may find hope, faith, and maybe, one day, pride.

-Jeffrey E. Jacques, 7/3/2020