Editorial: Stand united for the Fourth of July, America

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

As we celebrate this 236th year of our nation’s independence, how great would it be if we all took some time to not only celebrate but reflect on ways we can contribute our time and talents to improve our communities? It is only through the strength and resolve of the American people that we can strengthen our nation.

Without question, these are tough times for our nation. While the war in Iraq has come to an end, troops remain in harm’s way in Afghanistan and other dangerous parts of the world. Despite promising signs of improvement, the economy remains deeply troubled. We continue to struggle with high unemployment, a troubled housing market and inflation.

The nation remains deeply divided on issues large and small. Recent controversial Supreme Court decisions on a variety of constitutional issues, including the “Obamacare” health care affordability act law and Arizona’s immigration law, seem to have fanned the flames rather than settled the controversy. Still, in the United States of America, we all have a responsibility to put our differences aside and help our nation succeed.

No matter our troubles, the United States of America has always made it through the tough times. We’ve made it through far worse circumstances than these. Yet in other times in our history, there has been a sense of putting the good of the nation ahead of one’s own self-interest.

Compromise, sadly, has become an increasingly rare art in Washington, state capitals and even in local government. In many cases, it’s been exchanged for an aggressive winner-take-all approach that does not create good, fair or effective policy. We need to rise above the divide and conquer tactics that are defeating us all.

Let’s hope our leaders take some time to reflect on the meaning of the Declaration of Independence and hearken back to the art of compromise that our Founding Fathers understood was necessary to create a more perfect union. With that said, though, the responsibility for the fate of our nation does not begin and end with government. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” President John F. Kennedy famously said in his 1961 inaugural address. May we all consider ways that we can give back to our communities — through volunteerism, public service and simply helping our friends and neighbors in need.

If you get into a dispute with someone today, try to find some areas of agreement rather than insisting that your way is the only way. If you can’t find areas of compromise, simply extend the olive branch and agree to disagree. As you watch the fireworks, view the parade, relax at the beach or enjoy time with friends and family, let’s all honor our nation’s promise by thinking about ways to put the “united” back into the United States of America.

This Independence Day, let’s all take pride in our nation’s history and consider some ways that each of us can help to strengthen the United States of America — now and in the future. Even if just for today, let’s put patriotism above politics and focus on the simple, universal truths that unite us all as Americans. Happy 236th Birthday, America!

Herald News of Fall River, Mass.