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Commentary: A much difference Fourth of July is both good, bad

Steve King
Suburbanite correspondent
The Suburbanite

Like everything else in this newfound world in which we now find ourselves, the Fourth of July this weekend will be extremely different – in fact, probably more so than at any time in the country’s history.

That is both bad, and good.

It’s bad in that those elaborate fireworks displays, which in many regards are to July 4 what Christmas trees are to the holiday season with the way they grab our attention and light up our lives both literally and figuratively, will be few in far between this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Large crowds and social distancing simply don’t mix. That also goes for parties and other gatherings of friends and families.

So, like it or not, agree with it or not, believe in it or not, this year is bound to be quieter and less festive, and we’re just going to have to deal with it.

But the good – that which far outweighs the bad in the big and much more important picture going forward -- is that this is a Fourth of July in which, as a country, our feet are going to be held to the fire like never before. We’re going to see if the foundations on which this country are supposed to be built – the reasons why our forefathers wanted to break away from England to establish a country where freedom, for all, really does ring like the Liberty Bell; the reasons why they wrote the Declaration of Independence in the first place – are legitimate.

Do we really, truly, fully believe these things?

Are we living the lives – completely, not just here and there as if we were working our way through a cafeteria line of justice and equity where we pick only the truths, and people, we want to put onto our trays – our forefathers dreamed about and wanted, so much so that they risked their lives to attempt to make it happen?

We’ve skirted by for almost 250 years proclaiming what we believed in, but then turning around and showing by our actions that our convictions are hit-and-miss at best.

That’s a bad look – a really bad look.

And it’s high time it stops -- not next week, not month or next year, but now, this weekend. It’s the perfect time to do it, really, because the Fourth of July is the perfect holiday for it.

So, we can sit around and bemoan something we can’t change – that the pizzazz has been removed from a holiday that is known for such – or we can do something really big, meaningful and transformational and make the cultural and human rights changes that should have been made decades, even centuries, ago.

Happy Fourth of July.

Please choose to make it the happiest it can be – for every single person in this country.