As this July the Fourth approaches, we hear the usual calls for “patriotism” and “love for country.” American flags fly everywhere. Fireworks blast during the afternoons. Barbeques and cook-outs with families occur throughout our neighborhoods and cities. But due to recent events in the United States, our divisions have become more apparent, and this July holiday might be more of an opportunity to celebrate our commonalities as citizens of this country, and our differences as individuals with the recognition of our sameness as human beings.
All to often, it is frequently an American practice to turn this holiday into celebrations of pride. In that celebration, are the uses of phrases like “greatest country in the world.” No doubt, this country has done some amazing and great things, and it has done some things for which no one would be proud. That’s because countries don’t exist without people, and people make mistakes. But I do not think we should seek to just celebrate of national pride or a confess our national mistakes.
Instead, it is in times like these, where the world and our country seems most divided, I think it is more important to use this July the Fourth to remember our humanity, and that we all have a place in the world. We, no matter which country in which we live, are part of humanity as well. We can celebrate that too.
As we celebrate, let us remember these words from His Holiness, the Dalai Lama:
In a sense, all human beings belong to a single family. We need to embrace the oneness of humanity and show concern for everyone— not just my family or my country or my continent. We must show concern for every being, not just the few who resemble us. Differences of religion, ideology, race, economic system, social system, and government are all secondary.
The Dalai Lama His Holiness; Hopkins Ph.D., Jeffrey (2002-02-12). How To Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life (p. 80). Atria Books. Kindle Edition.