As 4th of July is around the corner, I started to think about our nation as a whole and how so much has changed since I was born in 19- (I’ll leave it there).  I remember growing up, saying the pledge of allegiance, being respectful to those around you, and having educated discussions was not an option… it was part of life.  Now, maybe it’s just me getting older, or maybe technology has gotten that much more efficient, but lately all I am seeing on social media, news outlets, blog sites, etc is how crappy America is.  It makes me so sad.

Growing up, I never remember hearing about how bad it is to live in America.  I never remembered so much disrespect, so much rudeness.  I remember people always debating and critiquing… but never disrespecting.  Everyone acknowledged that America is great because it is flawed.  They knew that it was those imperfections and disagreements that lead to great debates which in turn lead to positive change.  

Now to disagree with another person means you are racist, bigoted, narrow-minded, stupid, etc.  It no longer means you have a different opinion that should be valued.  Now to support one presidential candidate over another means you run the risk of getting eggs, or fists, thrown at you as you leave a rally.  To disagree with a person’s lifestyle choice means you could lose your business.  To be a certain orientation means you run the risk of getting killed in a night club.  To believe in the second amendment makes you a ignorant, trigger happy cowboy.  When did we allow ourselves to become like this? Doesn’t anyone see this as wrong?

In the wake of the Orlando shooting I was listening to a priest’s radio show where I hoped to be  led in prayer and solidarity about the ensuing violence.  Instead all I heard was a priest practically harassing  a caller simply because the caller believes in the second amendment.  To hear it was a shame and a disgrace to my faith.  This “priest” continued to chastise the caller until the caller hung up.  The priest then proceeded to poke fun at the caller for another 10 minutes.  He then decided to reprimand the Christian faiths because apparently we indirectly were the cause of this heinous crime.  

Wait what? 

That’s right… apparently Christians were the un-accepting ones.  Never mind the hundreds of people of all faiths who donated blood or saved lives of the survivors or have spent countless hours counseling the families. Never mind Chick-fil-a whose employees fired up their grills on a Sunday and fed those donating blood free of charge.  Though I was angry in the wake of that terrible tragedy… I never saw any other person or object to blame other than the person who did it.  And somehow it became yet another political circus tirade.  

Then there was the tragedy at Disney.  That family is going through what has to be the most horrible form of agony imaginable.  They lost their baby.  And instead of a nation coming together to mourn the loss of that family, so many criticized them, said unrepeatable things and sat themselves on such high horses that when they fall it’s going to hurt badly.  When did any of us become “perfect?” When did we give ourselves the right to say such things to a mother and father who just lost their baby?? 

I miss the days when people were proud to be American, where people could disagree but still be friends.  Where in the wake of a tragedy, you saw the good in people of all backgrounds come together to help and you focused on recovery, not more damage.  That is what America is truly about.  We need to go back to being the world’s melting pot… where everyone speaks their mind freely but respectfully and were we all remember we are Americans first.  

Jaclyn Don Caceres

Jaclyn is a former Reading Specialist, and wanna be writer who gave up teaching when she had her first baby. After staying home for a number of years chasing 4 children, her husband, yellow dog named Patton, chickens, and a pet lamb named Chloe, she decided to take on even more by joining the family business. When she finds a few precious moments to herself, she goes back to her writing roots. She enjoys writing about anything the inspires her whether it be her own life or the lives of those she sees around her.