GUEST POST: What Makes Our Country Special? The Rt. Rev. James St. George

As we approach the 4th of July, I wonder if we can all stop and remember what make this country so special. I didn’t say the best in all the world, as all countries have their frailties and flaws. For me, personally, yes, this is the greatest country., but I also recognize that for others they have their own opinion – I respect them for that. So, maybe we can all use social media for what it does best – bring us closer together no matter the miles between us; reunite long lost friendships and family; use it for good, rather than divisive rhetoric, at least for one day?

Instead of posting hate speech or rude comments, let us recognize that this country was built on honoring each other and our differences; why not just say, “I disagree with you, but I respect your opinion” and move on?

Instead of making fun of and promoting hatred of immigrants and aliens, look at our family tree and give thanks that no one stopped our great grandfather when he fled here and could only speak Italian, etc.

Instead of posting photos that make fun of others, or promote sexism, misogyny, homophobia, racism, or inequality, even with humor, let us post only those things that build up and show respect for all others. There are well over 7 billion people in this world…each has inherent rights.

Instead of posting words or images that make fun of the poor, or the mentally ill, or any in need, recognize they exist and stop stepping over them, or worse, on them, with your insensitivity.

Instead of posting rude images that banter another’s political party or ideation, why not acknowledge that our government was built on an adversarial system where each party is called to fight for their unique position, but then, equally, they are called to come together. Let us support them in their opinions, but pray for them in their coming together for the good of the whole?

Instead of calling the President a liar, or a cheat, etc., let us respect him for the position and that he chose to serve this nation. Note that he won by votes, no matter what you think of the process, and let us recognize that none of knows what it is like to deal with hard decisions the person who sits in this office are called on to make everyday. If I were called to serve again and even die for my country, I would tell The President, ‘Yes, sir/madam, I will go.” would you do anything less no matter who is in that office or what party they hail from? Then stop being mean.

Instead of being vehement in our opinions, why not honor the fact that we do not always have all the facts, or history, or wounds, and that others’ may just have more facts than us? Then, ask them ‘why’ they believe what they do for we may just learn from one another, rather than promote hatred and division.

Instead of seeing the world through ‘your lens’, why not recognize that your truth may not be my truth, or others’ truths. Love them (and me) where we are.

Finally, on this 4th of July, why not simply give thanks for all you do have instead of what you want and do not need. Why not make an effort to go to church this Sunday, and not just to a picnic? Why not say a prayer of thanksgiving for this country and her people, who stand side by side you, even in your brokenness. Stop and give thanks to those who serve in uniform and who died defending your right to be less than noble in your words, spoken and even posted here, then turn a page and look for ways of making this nation even greater by showing your love.

I wish you all a blessed holiday.

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