Celebrating Independence day reminds me how fortunate, and thankful I am to live in this grand country, the USA, and to count myself as an “American.”
This is why: Freedom.
Two freedoms are particularly dear: 1) the freedom to love and marry who I want without government intervention and 2) the freedom to fly. By far the most powerful, and the most recent, is #1 about marrying who I want, Tim Kaiser in my case.
It’s a freedom I didn’t even acknowledge needing for much of my life because I didn’t acknowledge my sexuality, believing I could “pray it away.” Part of that was not wanting anything to get in the way of my passions, namely flying. I just didn’t want distractions. I denied this to myself for many years but it doesn’t work that way. I can no more change my attraction than anyone else can.
Who I’m Grateful To
People fought and died to escape tyranny. All kinds of tyranny. They built a country based on rights, “of the people and for the people.” They wrote a constitution to survive the usual conscriptions of power that saddled humanity for much of its history.
Amendments were added enshrining more freedoms: that religion should not be forced, nor allowed as a test to serve in government. They enshrined the right to arm ourselves, to freely express, and a bunch of other things that don’t exist in many other countries. They negated the concept of “owning” people. They specifically gave all powers not listed in the constitution to the states and the people.
It wasn’t just these laws, though, it was people being willing to fight and die for what they believed in. Hopefully we never forget the sacrifices our veterans have made, including those who survived, but will carry awful scars to their sometimes-early grave.
Iranians are a wonderful people in most regards, but in their country, and a number of others, they would be fine killing me because I’m gay.
I have a lot to be thankful for living in these United States.
As much as what has been done in government, is what has happened with my fellow humans. I am grateful to you, the majority, for accepting me, and others like me, the way I am, voting with your actions and laws to limit discrimination that would otherwise prevent us from enjoying some of the same freedoms.
The artwork above, by David Silva, captures my sentiment better than these words.
Thank you America. And Happy Independence Day!