Thrilled to launch #Paulosophia via video today. Much more to come on popular culture, trauma and healing, spirituality, politics, religion, education, social justice, and more.
Millions celebrate the USA today. And, yes, I should, I suppose, be on the boat, or the wakeboard, or the paddleboard, or the kayak. Like everyone else, here in flawless Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, where it’s a dry ninety degrees, the water as transparent as glass.
Millions celebrate the USA today.
I sit here instead. For now at least. On a patio chair, enviously listening to the sounds of boats and laughing, watching everyone frolic in the warm sun.
Have you ever taken a step back, ask what we celebrate on July 4th? I mean, of course, we celebrate the “birth of a nation.” But precisely what is the nation?
What is the USA?
Because when I was a kid, on Independence Day, everyone seemed to be on the same page. Like other national holidays like Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day or New Year’s Day — or even on a birthday or wedding anniversary — never debate about what you were celebrating.
Millions celebrate the USA today. And they ain’t celebrating the same thing.
In fact, tens of millions seem to be celebrating very different countries.
On the political left, a celebration of diversity. Not just celebration, pride in diversity. Giddiness. Glee. Jump up and down and scream hullaballoo.
Whether race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion, socioeconomic status — the more diverse, the better. Food and culture and music and language. The more diverse, the better. Black as much as white. Lesbian and gay and bisexual and transgender and queer, as much as straight. Muslim or atheist or Hindu as much as Christian. Equal rights for all.
To the question, What is the USA? the far left, its core — American means not just diversity, but a celebration of it.
What is the USA to the far right? Most certainly equal Independence Day celebration. Parties and trucks with flags — lots of flags. Lots said about patriotism. Songs and memes about being proud to be American. Most certainly pride in “America.” But not so much pride in diversity.
Perhaps even fear of that diversity.
To those on the far right, I’m afraid America means something very different than it does to those on the far left.
What is the USA? This is not a political question; today, it’s a question with no easy answer.
Audacious goals. Some call them North Stars. Regardless, for centuries, men and women have committed themselves to radical visions — reform and change and revolution that seemed impossible to the masses.
The greatest exemplar was Jesus.
As one studies any movement, the people behind the movement must be considered — the organizers and idealists and troublemakers who were crazy enough to lead and join and work and believe that transformation was possible and that their persistence could bring it about.
I think of our audacious goal at For The Children, our North Star: An end to family-induced childhood trauma and eradication of the cycle of neglect, abuse, and abandonment.
I mean like, who do we think we are?
Answer? — we are no different from those organizers and idealists and troublemakers. We really aren’t.
Saint Francis and Martin Luther and Florence Nightingale and William Wilberforce and Harriet Tubman and the thousands that worked alongside them, and now…
From Thursday’s article by NPR: “At the age of 89, Lee decided her new life mission was much like that of Granger: ‘I knew I just had to spread the word about Juneteenth to everybody.’ The best way to do that, she figured, was to help get Juneteenth accepted as a national holiday.”
Eighty-nine! And today the entire world is learning a new word, Juneteenth, and the meaning behind it. (And millions get a day off work.
As followers of Jesus, we follow the most extraordinary lineage in the history of mankind. He spawned a movement, an audacious one, turning “reality” on its head — a message of the last being the first, the poor being rich, the weak being strong, the losers being winners, the outcasts being those he chose first.
An end to family-induced childhood trauma — what could be more of an audacious, and possible, goal?
Last thing. The reason I chose Judith Herman: she was one of these pioneers, audacious, working for decades to advocate for the reality of trauma, PTSD, against the powers that held to the mind-over-matter canard. But Herman was unrelenting. Trauma and Recovery might be a bit dense. But it is the single greatest work that paved the way for doctors, academics, and organizations like ours to treat and heal victims. The New York Times called the book, “One of the most important psychiatric works to be published since Freud.”
I look forward to reading with you and understanding the core of what our children face.
Happy Juneteenth, and we can do this…
For the children,