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Standring column: Fourth of July: A reminder against foreign control and that we are all equal

Suzette Martinez Standring
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Telegram & Gazette

Columns share an author’s personal perspective.

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The Fourth of July will be fireworks-free in most places. No parades and no crowding around buffet tables. Some beach parking lots are barricaded to reduce visitors. I am adapting.

For public mask wearing, raising eyebrows, winking, and “smiley eyes” are today’s facial signals for friendliness. Being a hugger renders me as obsolete as a kissing booth at a county fair. I am adapting.

Our country is deeply divided with our government navigating treacherous waters with no rudder or compass. Blame, vitriol, finger pointing, and the trickle down effect is that neighbor hates neighbor for having a different point of view.

I will not adapt.

So what does this have to do with the Fourth of July? Since 1776, Americans celebrate, loud and proud, our historic independence from British rule. Those then-insurgents went against Britain, a world power, because the colonies wanted fair treatment and representation, but when oppression was the reply, they fought for self-rule.

The sacrifices of colonists led to some of the greatest guarantees for Democracy: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the two-party system, checks and balances among the legislative, executive and the judicial branches, and the individual right to vote.

Erosion is happening and I will not adapt.

In the 18th century, early Americans no longer wanted interference by foreign powers.

Today, with cyber-hacking, and proven foreign manipulation in American elections, our country is being preyed upon. The goal is to sew division, confusion and lies.

I will not adapt.

We are beset by the pandemic and racial strife, but I believe America grows toward the light.

Stretch yourself to be kind and patient in the face of overwhelming evidence of 2.64 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 128,000 related deaths in the United States. Right now we lead the world in pandemic-related deaths. Will it kill you to just wear a mask? The answer is maybe … if you don’t wear one.

Black Lives Matter, and for a moment, imagine life where opportunities are cut off, harassment, arrest, brutality, and imprisonment are common. Just because it may not be your reality, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Throughout history, African Americans, 13% of the population, have been targeted for punishment in profoundly unequal measure. As NBA star Lebron James said, “They’re lucky Black people are looking for equality and not revenge.”

Right now, is one leg shorter than the other because you are having a knee jerk reaction?

Let’s listen to each other. Let’s exchange facts, not emotions. No one is one dimensional. We are not solely defined by our political party, anymore than we are by our ancestry or hair color. It all goes into a big unique pot of self.

Do you know why the famous statue, “Lady Justice,” wears a blindfold? Because she symbolizes fair and equal administration of the law, without corruption, favor, greed or prejudice.

The Fourth of July reminds us to battle against control by foreign powers and most importantly, “That we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Stars and Stripes forever!

Email Suzette Martinez Standring at suzmar@comcast.net.