A USA birthday wish: to unite and to heal
As holidays go, the Fourth of July is special.
The special day lacks the religious foundation of Christmas or Easter but brings a universal sense of patriotic pride amid the fireworks and family gatherings.
Not many of us will pause on the 4th to remember why we celebrate this special day. But we should.
The American experiment is unique among the nations of the world. No other country enjoys the freedoms that we take for granted. And no other nation has been able to duplicate the massive influence on the world that our great nation offers.
But as we all can see, many of those fought-for freedoms are under assault.
When history is someday written, future generations will look back at this new century as a pivotal point in our nation's history.
The massive and unprecedented division in this country has the potential for long-term damage unlike we've ever seen.
By way of a weak comparison, the division that erupted over the war in Vietnam - coupled with an emerging civil rights movement - divided this nation along passionate lines during the 1960s.
Yet despite those differing views, this nation remained united with a singular purpose of freedoms for all.
Today those divisions are deeper. And more importantly, those divisions are not surrounding a single issue but rather countless issues of disagreement.
And although the '60s brought ample violence and destruction, nothing can compare to the stark divisions of today's America.
None of us fully knows how this current situation will play out in the long run. We can hope and pray that out of this division will eventually come some universal uniting message that will heal wounds and put us on a path of progress.
But some of us believe the foundational changes ushered in by the former administration set the stage for this division.
No one fully understood the fundamental transformation promised by the Obama years would reap the chaos that unfolds almost daily.
And let there be no mistake: It is that fundamental transformation that has set the stage for this massive division.
I still suspect - though I may be naive - that some uniting event will help to repair the damage and once again unite America.
We still have so very much to be thankful for in America. And yet we can continue to hope and pray that somewhere in the not-so-distant future our nation will heal and unite and embrace those freedoms that are cause for our current celebration.