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Tears and Hope on July 4

Kirk Bangstad

Tomorrow is the birthday our nation. As we celebrate our independence, we take pride in what America has done. We look back to over two hundred years of history and know that the American ideal has been the envy of the world. Our ingenuity, our creativity, our adaptability, our social mobility, our democracy, our freedom of speech and religion, and our ability to transfer power peacefully through elections.

Unfortunately this Independence Day, for the first time in my life, I'm scared we're gonna lose it all.

I'm scared that we no longer live in a democracy, we don't have fair elections, that we no longer have institutions strong enough to guard against authoritarianism, our system of checks and balances is being drowned out by false media propaganda fed by a deluge of corporate money, most Americans no longer have the ability to be born poor and move up, and that all Americans are no longer created equal.

Although I love America, we are no longer a beacon on a hill for other countries to admire.

I was talking to some former workers of mine from Uzbekistan (we used to employ J1 visa students from around the globe before the pandemic and before Trump canceled the program a month ago), and they just laughed when I told them about my fears for the country. "Welcome to our world," they said. "in our country, you can't get any help from the government unless you have cash in your hand." They laughed with a little bit of schadenfreude, asserting that the U.S. can no longer claim that we even have a semblance of honest government, fair elections, or representative government.

Although i will look towards my flag tomorrow with a deep love for my country, I will also shed a tear for what is happening to it.

I fear that all we have left to hope for is an election in November so lopsided towards Joe Biden that there can be no question about its validity, and that Trump and his enablers can do no more harm and go away.

I pray that real Republicans, not the party of Trump, stand up and vote against the twisted caricature of the Grand Old Party to save our union and revive our democracy.

It all starts with fairness. In order for government to work again we have to stop rigging elections through gerrymandering, we have to get huge money out of campaigns, and we have to strengthen media laws so that we don't live in a country where half of the population gets a different set of facts than the other.

The news story below is about our little rally yesterday in Lac du Flambeau, a beautiful area home to the Lac du Flambeau Tribe, where we shined a light on gerrymandering and a cynical attempt to block public school funding.

It’s not about me or this little gerrymandered assembly district in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. This is about our country, the "Land of the Free." But we can all do our part to save ourselves by organizing rallies, or more importantly, voting on November 3.

Happy 4th of July. God bless you, and God bless the USA.


Written by Kirk Bangstad on 07/04/20

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