Welcome to Patriot’s Month. May 31st started it all with Memorial Day. Soon we’ll observe Flag Day (June 14), followed by Independence Day (July 4). In the emotional and political wake of the Insurrection at the Capitol six months ago, these annual celebrations look and feel different. Our democracy needs a lot of work – insuring equal rights and legal protection for all Americans, facing the shortcomings of our history, listening across divides (to that neighbor down the hall who votes for the other team, or to that family member or co-worker).
As I hold these holidays in my mind and heart, I feel grateful to “come out” as loving this messy American experiment in democracy, in collective power. During the Vietnam war, the pro-war side wrapped themselves in the American flag. I felt the flag taken away from me. It’s taken me decades and an insurrection to reclaim my rights to the flag, to share my complicated love for the flag, and to commit to be part of implementing its vision that we all are created equal, and to learn the truth about its (our) history. We are patriots when we learn the truth and speak the truth about slavery, the American caste system, our genocide of indigenous peoples. We are patriots when we work together to dismantle the caste system from within us all, daring to believe in the future.