Fireworks have been sounding in my neighborhood for several nights in a row. Generally I don’t mind. Something about that deep *thunk* of the large displays shooting into the sky fills me with a happy anticipation of color and spectacle.
I have been thinking about freedom and independence and rights and such. In the past two weeks, we have been through so much in this country. The public explosions of rhetoric over the US Supreme Court decisions has been enough to make me want to bury my head in the sand. It would be nice if all of the discussion (and I use that word lightly) contained important points of debate; however, most of it has been a blast of hot air, smoke, and even fire. From the outside looking in, it would seem that we had lost all sense of proportion.
Churches will not be forced to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies, yet many people with deeply held religious beliefs have been screaming that their rights are trampled. No one has ruled that they cannot believe and worship as they please, but they are shouting that their First Amendment rights have been taken away.
In a similar vein, those who revere the Confederate flag for benign reasons are unable to accept that while they may continue to remember the old South, the flag itself has long been a symbol of oppression and everything we did wrong (and continue to do wrong) in this country with regard to race relations.
But here is where I have hope: We have the freedom in this country to disagree with government rulings. We have the freedom in this country to disagree loudly and boldly, and we’re even allowed to be stupid when doing so. We have the right to assemble, the right to practice our religion without our government establishing one overall religion, and we have the right to bring our grievances to the elected government.
So, yes, there are all kinds of fireworks going off, but I’m glad we’re free to let that happen. It’s an annoyance sometimes, but it is a small price to pay.