Thomas and I have been really bad at remembering the date and the day of the week. The only reason I remembered that today is Memorial Day is because the Indianapolis 500 was on yesterday. I probably could have figured it out though since everyone and their mother is out riding their bicycles today, despite the humidity. Today was not the warmest day but definitely the worst because of the humidity.
On to more important things: I believe that all Christians should be pacifists, and anarchists, so Memorial Day is a difficult holiday for me. Often times I think that people care more about their country than the people that live in it or the opportunities it affords. The fact that the United States was established by the people and for the people seems to be lost in aiming for honor and our own personal security. Loving soldiers as human beings is one thing, but putting them up on a pedestal and thinking that they are some how necessary is quite another.
Once again our priorities are mixed up. Why do we lift up soldiers and those who have died in combat above all else? I have no answer. So I refuse to be brainwashed by this country or any other and instead choose to remember the people who have really gotten me here: my parents, my brother, all my Lucy and Lopez relatives; and the many abolitionists who have risked their lives and social status in the noblest of causes.
Why do we celebrate Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day and Independence Day and the soldiers anyway? Because we are free people? Because we are allowed to live the way we want to live? Well, you see, no matter how hard our soldiers fight, no matter how many engagements they enter into, no matter how many celebrations we have about the United States of America, there are still 27 Million People who are not free and can not even imagine how they might live if they were free. So today I am celebrating William Wilberforce, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Tubman, Thomas Clarkson, and many other abolitionist who have worked tirelessly to return to all people the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
So let us together remember all the people who have given their lives to actually make people free. And let us continue to remember all the people that are still without freedom. We do them a great disservice when we celebrate the great achievements of this country as if there were nothing more to be done, because the freedom that we claim to possess is not yet realized until we no longer enslave any person in this country or any other. That means 27 Million more achievements that lie before us.
(Thanks to Rob, who is right now, at this moment, writing out this message in Washington D.C. while John is dictating it to him over the phone, enveloped by the daunting humidity of Bellevue, Ohio. J)