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July, the month of mid-summer. Spring has bloomed full; the dog days still linger ahead somewhere in August. July, the month of picnics and watermelon, hot dogs and fireworks, and flags and boat sails unfurling on placid breezes. It's America's birthday!  

There exists a plethora of literature, poems, and anthems lauding America and Patriotism. Why was I struggling with my muse, the one that rarely rests quiet, for a special, cheerful Fabulously Fourth of July column? I googled Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Frances Scott Key, good ol' Ralph Waldo E. and E. E. Cummings. Nothing resonated. I perused through all the poems I'd written myself over the years, too.  

Then, I paid a visit to my "Majesty of the Land" trailer at [Link Removed] located in the Spiritual Ponderings section of  Thanks to the work of my site builder, Kathy Killam, it never fails to bring me a misty eye. Maybe, it's the music,  or all the moving pictures that I've taken myself in my wanderings around the country, including a select few gifted for my use by Paul Wamhof, an incredible photographer who gets his 'shots' backpacking the High Sierras. I don't know, but then, I got my muse back. Over the holiday week, I'd invite all to view it as my greeting card to all of you.

I love the land of America. I love the diversity of sea shores and green valleys nestled between the majesty of mountain chains. I love the vastness of the prairies and the silence of the desert. The towering forests and high mountain meadows, the great lakes and meandering rivers that flow through it all like arteries in a living thing. I love the wildlife, both flora and fauna, the balance they provide to the nature. And, I cry for the lack of care we give it all in our errant perception of just what a Divinely-mandated dominion means.

This year, as we celebrate our Nation's birthday, my heart is doing more crying for America than celebrating it, as it has become. America is hurting; it is crying, too, this Nation of hopes and dreams we all hold dear.

I read, or heard, I can't remember now, a profound message the other day. Can't recall where. My mind is like a sponge to words that resonate with me. A writer myself, I'm very cautious about using quotes of others without giving proper credit, however, this message is so insightful, I'm thinking they will be pleased at its passing forward . . . "History will not judge us by our so-called progress, but on what we allowed to endure." I wondered, then. Will we allow our magnificent land lying cradled between two oceans to endure?  

I love America’s Constitution first drawn to form it into a more perfect Union. The guidelines set forth to insure that it remain fair and just; provide equality and opportunity to the masses to pursue the inalienable rights of liberty and happiness. The work in the Amendments passed to make it better. I cry for the twisting and turning of its tenets for expedient and unsavory gain. Will we allow the tenets of the Doctrine that formed America's infancy and growth to survive? Or will we continue to allow it to be manipulated and taken for granted behind the drawn curtains of 'classified' information?

 I cry for the forgetfulness of America’s peoples that with rights and freedoms also comes responsibility. I cry for the errant expectations that freedom and rights mean receiving without giving back, speaking and voting without learning the issues or speaking the language. I cry for the government representatives who enable that philosophy to fester by rewarding mediocrity and lack of ambition in return for a vote. They sell not only their own soul, they sell the soul of our America, the joy in working hard and achieving goals and dreams, of neighbor helping neighbor while demanding compliance to standards. They take from us the joy and adventure of pursuit.

I long for the return to the principles upon which our America was founded. When America represented hope to the world and not despair. When we governed with the compassion and justice of a global neighbor, a beacon, and not the fear and aggression of a tyrant. I long for the will of America to learn from our mistakes and correct them and become, once again, a land that we would lay down our lives to preserve. I long for the Spirit of our Patrick Henry’s and George Washington’s, Abraham Lincoln’s, Roosevelts, and Dr. King’s.

Personally, I don't see America's enemies as some terrorist force on foreign shores. I see her biggest enemy within. In her people who fail to take responsibility for voting wisely based on the best ideas and direction for the whole Nation and not just their own needs and past loyalties. I see it within in a shifting of moral values and 'what's in it for me' mindsets. I see it within in a shirking of accountability by elected officials, an attitude of expectation rather than a commitment to sacrifice and service. I see it in a forgetfulness that we the people are not subjects of government, but we ARE the government. What our government does or has become is merely a reflection of what we ourselves have become.

It is my fervent wish, that this year as we all gather with family and friends, frolic at picnics and parades, watch sparkling colors explode in the heavens, consume the bounty of America, or sit reflectively alone, that the words of another American come to you . . . "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."
John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

May you always have rainbows . . .

Susan Haley

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