Happy birthday, America
This week marks America's birthday and a time to reflect on battles fought and freedoms won.
Of course, it often seems like this country is locked in as brutal a war as ever—only one that it has waged against itself. A fight over fundamental rights, inherent belief systems, culture and tradition.
Recently, a friend and I discussed that idea, sharing stories of how we'd watched our families struggle with change. His hails from central Ohio, mine from Northern Texas—both staunchly conservative regions that are mired in religion and largely resistant to evolving views.
I've thought about this a lot lately. It's hard not to in a time rife with news of Paula Deen's racist comments, and Supreme Court rulings on affirmative action and voting rights. I thought about it on June 26, when the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act by ruling that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits. That same day, the court also declined to decide in a case regarding Proposition 8, thus effectively allowing same-sex marriages in California. I thought about it on June 28, when a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled to immediately resume issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
By day's end, Sandy Stier and Kris Perry, the plaintiffs in Prop. 8, had married at City Hall in San Francisco. A true milestone.
Still, it makes me wonder. My grandparents could have never fathomed the idea of same-sex marriage—if not for moral reasons, then because the concept wasn't a cultural norm.
To that end, which of my own deeply held beliefs will eventually be upended? What notions will we ultimately reflect upon, challenge and change?
Happy birthday, America. Here's to finding out.