Vail Daily column: On Independence Day, put aside hateful political rhetoric
July 4, 2017
Editor's note: Due to space constraints, this column is running a day late.
Independence Day is my favorite day of the year. Small towns still feel small, and the same faces fill the same spots along the same parade routes we've been enjoying for decades.
I've walked the Fourth of July parade ever since I was a kid, when my grandpa took me on the route in our Willys Jeep. It's inspiring to see people line the streets to celebrate the United States.
America represents ideas that are big, bold, patriotic and larger than just one person or political party. We, as a nation, have reached for and achieved enormous goals — patriotic pursuits that bring us together under a common aim and that inspire child and adult alike.
But, it's surely not lost on any of us that our political discourse has taken a dark turn toward division in recent months. Though our country was founded on the notion of saying yes to "taking longer strides," as President John F. Kennedy urged us, or as President Ronald Reagan said, "creating a future more dazzling than America has ever before known," you wouldn't know it by listening to politicians in Washington.
Thankfully, we have reminders all around us.
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In our classrooms across the high country, brilliant young minds are perhaps nurturing the seeds of the Next Big Thing.
With courage, an entrepreneur is opening her business in pursuit of her own American dream.
Independence Day celebrates a nation standing on its own because its people could do better and be better by pledging to work toward purposes larger than themselves.
Our governing documents are emblazoned with the spirit that challenges, and disagreements can result in the freedom to choose our own way together. It's the DNA of the high expectations America sets for itself and the fabric of our national confidence. But using our divisions and our differences against one another through hateful political rhetoric, rather than toward a common cause of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, does not create a more perfect union.
Independence Day is a grand day. It is a fun day complete with water fights and marching bands, horses decorated with red, white and blue glitter and pockets filled with candy. It's also a day to reflect back on what we have accomplished together and the plenty we still have to do. Our power to be great is derived from our working together transparently, honestly and with purpose.
So, this Independence Day, I urge you to not only celebrate our past and our founding, but to celebrate our future, as well. The true value of independence isn't in retrospect. Its value is in providing us the courage to grow and become better together. Happy Fourth of July.
State Sen. Kerry Donovan, of Vail, represents Senate District 5, which includes Chaffee, Delta, Eagle, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Lake and Pitkin counties. You can reach her office at 303-866-4871 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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