I’m feeling particularly patriotic today, because marriage equality was recently made the law of the land here in the United States. Every once in a while, for all its flaws, this country gets it right. That makes me feel good.
So, one of my traditions on Independence Day is that I take some time to contemplate what independence means to me, as a woman, as an American, as a human being on this planet. And I’m not just talking independence from England, which is what this holiday was originally about.
Every day, all over the world, people experience varying levels of freedom. I happen to think that on that particular bell curve, I’m one of the luckier ones. But even on this day of flag waving and euphoria, I’m not going to say we get everything right. Some of my freedoms have been rolled back over time, and others are constantly being chipped away at. Independence isn’t some final destination. It’s not like you can sit back and rest once you’ve arrived. It takes work to maintain.
Here are a few things that I value highly, whether I have them or not:
- Coming and going as I please.
- Marrying whomever I want, divorcing if I choose, or never marrying at all.
- The right to decide what I can and cannot do with my own body.
- Access to health care.
- Having no one else dictate what clothes I wear.
- Being able to drive a car.
- Freely stating my opinions in this blog.
- Pursuing my own spiritual path.
- Owning my own property.
- Protesting and debating.
- Living alone, or with whomever I choose.
- Celebrating differences.
- Traveling freely.
- Choosing my own career path, or in fact working at all.
- Feeling safe.
All of these things, and so many more, are what independence means to me. If you have these things, you are very fortunate indeed. Don’t take them for granted. Today, and every other day of the year, we should appreciate what we have and maintain it, and strive for these basic human rights for all.
Happy Independence Day.