Looking at my Twitter and Facebook feeds today is making me ashamed to call myself a "Liberal". All I seem to see is people using the 4th of July as a launching point to to attack conservatives in one way or another or to just generally let our displeasure with the state of the union be known.
I know we're all groaning at the fair weather patriots and the conservative nut jobs who come out around holidays like the 4th of July and remind us that many of the people who proclaim their love of America the loudest also do so in ways that embarrass, disgust, or scare us the most. I know that our gut instinct is to distance ourselves from these people as much as possible so as not to be lumped in with them. I know that our ideal America is very different from theirs and when we hear them hoot, holler, and proselytize we naturally want to disassociate ourselves from them and their ideas. The fact of the matter however is that both sides love America, regardless of the gulf between our views and if there is one thing we can celebrate over everything else it's that we're allowed to have and express those views openly. I won't fault anyone for disagreeing with the views of non-liberals and doing so with as much cynicism and vitriol as they like, but the 4th of July isn't the problem and neither is the idea that is "America".
So before you post your next cynical screed or sarcastic comment on flag-waving, hot dogs, or some yokel's idea of what the 4th of July and America are all about, take a breath and think about what this day is really celebrating. 236 years ago a bunch of people got together and told one of the most powerful nations in the world to get shoved. They declared their independence and started off on the incredibly rocky road toward building a nation. It's a road we're still on today and while we may not always agree with the people we're on the road with and we may not always agree with where the road should take us, can't we all agree that the road itself is a good idea?