“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
These are the first words belonging to the declaration of independence, which was approved by congress on July 4th, 1776. Since this day, the 4th of July has been regarded as the birthday of The United States Of America… Independence Day. Independence day has always been my least favorite holiday of all American holidays. When the original intention behind a holiday is lost, instead of being a positive expression of that intention, it becomes a distorted cultural creation. The 4th of July is now a festival of unconsciousness. One of the busiest nights of the year for emergency rooms and fire departments, the 4th of July is about setting things on fire and blowing things up. It’s about hot dogs and hamburgers (because animals definitely deserve to lose their lives for the sake of our celebrations). And it’s about the kind of militarized patriotism that guarantees America will continue to be the bully on the playground of the world.
Today at the nation’s capital, the way America celebrated its independence day was flyovers by military planes as well as the display of two 60-ton M1 Abrams tanks and two Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Pictures abounded of parents proudly holding their children up in front of these vehicles, which are designed for one thing… War. I found it especially ironic that so many of these same parents and attendees claim to be Christian… “One Nation United Under God” they say. But I can tell you that ‘God’ wants no part of a person being ripped apart by shrapnel or being pumped full of bullets by machine guns. Most especially, ‘God’ wants no part of a single vehicle that costs the government 8.92 million dollars when children in that same country are starving.
I will warn you that I am usually less directly confrontational about unconsciousness than I am going to be in this blog. That being said, the reality is that you cannot call yourself Christian and support war and killing at the same time. The reality is that if Christ were to show up on the plant today, he would not be a Christian, at least not an American Christian. The culture of Christian America is a complete contradiction in terms and it is one of the most detrimentally unconscious human cultures on the planet today.
You have to leave your country to understand your country. Having to travel so much for my chosen career and purpose, I can attest to the fact that this is true. I had to leave America to see what is truly amazing about America and to see what is truly backwards about it.
My favorite thing about America is that the second your airplane wheels touch an American runway, there is an overwhelming feeling of yes and of forward movement. The whole energy of America is “it can be done”. There is encouragement to do better, go higher, go faster, get bigger and be more. It is my favorite place to work because people genuinely want you to succeed and opportunity abounds. No one on earth loves a tragedy to triumph and rags to riches story more than America. No one is going to help you to succeed in America. America sure as hell does not “take care” of its own and provide safety nets for its citizens. If you don’t believe me, just go to America and watch what happens to someone who develops a medical condition in the medical system there. But compared to other countries, America doesn’t stand in your way. If you really want to make a huge success of yourself, you can do that in America and there is no ‘glass ceiling’ at all. You are free to expand and expand and grow and grow and succeed and succeed. And I LOVE that energy.
Leaving the country has made me all too aware of what is really not good about America as well. And many of those things are what America proudly displays on the 4th of July. Exercising at the gym this morning with the news coverage displayed on the TV screens, all I could feel was embarrassed. It is this line in the declaration of independence that I find the most ironic… “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” What the government does not see is that this line reads rather like an invitation to secede or at the very least to create a division within the country itself.
On this 4th of July, the United States of America is immensely divided. In fact, it is polarizing more and more every day. On one side, those who would gladly take a picture of their child in front of a war tank and tell that child that ‘this is what makes America great’. And on the other side, those who would gladly alter and abolish the government and separate themselves from this country if a war tank is now what defines America as great. I could make this piece of writing a rant about my perspective on what is wrong with America today. I could make it a call to boycott the 4th of July if this is what it has come to represent. But none of this is conscious. Instead, I would rather tell you that if you feel called to celebrate the 4th of July, there is a different approach that you can take.
A birthday is a time to celebrate the unique being that someone is, including the potential that is inherent within them waiting to blossom under the right conditions. So let this day be the day to celebrate the unique being that America is and can be. Ask yourself, what is truly great about America? What are my favorite things about it? How do I honor it and what gift can I give it?
It would be a much deeper honor on this day to pick up trash on America’s roadsides than to litter it with parade balloons. It would be a much greater gift to donate to a veterans program than to set off fireworks, which trigger the millions of veterans with PTSD, not to mention pets who are left terrorized and hiding under the kitchen table.
America is called the melting pot of the world, so why not carry a unity flag at the same time as your American flag? America is the place for higher, further, faster, bigger and more. It would be a much better celebration of America if America hosted the biggest Ted X talk on this day every year or held the biggest united intention gathering on this day than it is to spend this day gorging on foods that harm the planet and lead to disease in its citizens.
In America, no one’s destiny is given to them, it is created by them. So why not celebrate this day by getting completely clear about your deepest desires and setting out a plan to achieve them or on celebrating the sovereign life that you have already created for yourself?
In principal and foundation, America is all about freedom. Freedom by definition includes the freedom to do good or do bad. This means, if freedom can bring out the worst in people, it can also bring out the best. So why not ‘do your best’ on this day, in whatever way that calls to you? Ask yourself, what will I do with the freedom that I do have?
Many people will argue that the suggestions I have put here do not sound like ‘fun’. Fun has an irreplaceable value in life, especially in the life of someone who is free. But the question is at what and whose expense? Fun that is experienced at the expense or even suffering of something else, is a perversion. I have to believe that people are capable of evaluating the potential impact of the fun they are having so they can either alter their fun so it doesn’t negatively impact other living beings or to find other ways of having fun.
Many American citizens are having a hard time celebrating America today. Many American citizens feel like divorcing themselves from America right now, given the current social and political climate. They feel like screaming to the rest of the world… “Do not think for a second that this represents all of us!” Feeling this way is completely understandable when it feels like there are negative things that are taking place in your own country; things that feel so much bigger than you, that you feel powerless to prevent them. But at times like this (especially on a day where we are celebrating the entity of a country that represents personal sovereignty) remember that America is more and America is greater than its government. It is also more than its people. America is those amber waves of grain. America is those purple mountains majesty. America is that place that any man can forge his or her own destiny. America is that domicile where you can practice any religion that you want. America is the place of “it can be done.” America is faster, further, higher, better, more. And those things are worthy of one hell of a conscious celebration.