I woke up with such a heaviness on my heart. This is never a good holiday to think beyond my smallest world—No, I honestly thought that I had passed that stage. That this year I was free to take on the biggest world on this the eve of David’s Death Day, but the missing of him, the sorrow of the loss of him lingers, it scents the air like roses in a garden, it is in the fabric of the comfortable capris that I pull on to grab a cup of coffee before Julia gets out of bed.
The radio’s first story is about another Black man in Ohio, fleeing the police, who was shot 60 times. The eight officers involved in the shooting were put on administrative leave which signals at least some question of appropriate behavior.
Tears escape my eyes.
I can claim no connection with the victim or the perpetrators or even the geography, but I am stirred to tears by the kind of anger that could cause 8 police officers to hit someone 60 times, knowing full well that there were many more shots that failed to meet their target. Did it really take 60 puncture wounds to bring this man down? Surely, 5 or ten or even twenty would have hobbled the biggest and strongest of people.
What is left of a person’s body after 60 gun shots enter that body?
And so, another year living without David collides with another police shooting collides with a radically conservative high court who is hell bent on stripping the fundament right to women’s bodily autonomy, hell bent on putting more guns in the hands of more people, hell bent on pushing us closer to a theocracy and hell bent on curtailing the federal government’s ability to combat climate change.
What is there to celebrate on this day of supposed independence?
Mornings I read email from Heather Cox Richardson and Dan Rather as if they are long time friends who are simply wiser and better world educated than I am.
Richardson’s message, an old one that she admittedly fiddled with this year and found it relevant once again, cautions that “just as in the 1850s, we are now, once again, facing a rebellion against our founding principle, as a few people seek to reshape America into a nation in which certain people are better than others.” Her addendum adds: “It is a dark Independence Day in many ways this year, but I hope everyone is able to find at least a little respite, and to recall the whole point of what we’re up to in this country.”
I don’t know if I am able to find that respite today until I read what Rather has to say:
“On this Fourth of July, I am celebrating fully and without reservation. I honor it as a day of struggle, and the struggle endures. I recognize it as a day of reflection on how fragile our rights and democracy are. But I also see it as a day to acknowledge how far we have come and how far we can go. I will never accede to an America where that journey is over. And in this I know that I am not alone.”
I can sign on to Rather’s celebration today—a day of reflection, a day to acknowledge the struggle ahead, a day to recognize that I have a community that believes in the journey ahead, a day not to give up the idea of the day.