America, Community

Fireworks about the Fireworks

I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend and holiday. Unfortunately, that was not the case in Highland Park, Illinois, and Philadelphia, and at least eight other locations, as there have been at least ten mass shootings in the United States since July 1. Celebrating America with family and friends with favorite summertime foods and fireworks is a national tradition. It’s a tradition that many look forward to.

There’s no ignoring the partisan divisiveness that’s become de rigueur today. Last Friday, the City of Orlando distributed the following invitation to the city’s fireworks show via its emailed newsletter:

A lot of people probably don’t want to celebrate our nation right now, and we can’t blame them. When there’s so much division, hate and unrest, why on earth would you want to have a party celebrating any of it.

But in all seriousness, you know in your heart, Fourth of July fireworks are amazing, especially when you are standing in 90° heat, 100% humidity, next to 100,000 of your closest friends. In that moment, something takes over and we all become united in an inexplicable bond. Yes, America is in strife right now, but you know what … we already bought the fireworks.

Now there are calls for the Mayor to apologize, assertions that the post was inappropriate for city communications, it was sent out by a raging leftist, and more.

Is the wording cheeky? Yes, it is. It pokes fun at gathering outdoors with far more people than expected in subtropical Florida’s heat and humidity—an experience common to Central Floridians or anyone who’s spent time at any of our world-class theme parks during the summer.

But I don’t think that’s what people have an issue with.


Evangelical Christians’ Political Choices Aren’t Problematic, Except They Could Get Me Killed

I was raised in a Christian home, attended Sunday school, and was active in my church. An active faith is something I’ve always had (except for those first couple years of college). Since my mid-twenties, I have considered myself an evangelical Christian. Evangelical defined as one who spreads the good news of Christ’s teachings—salvation, redemption, love one another, among others. That was until 2007 when conservative Christians began their power-grab with refashioning the Jesus of the Bible—the itinerant Jewish rabbi who railed against the powerful, the self-important, and the Haves, and taught the importance of caring for the marginalized, the oppressed, and the disenfranchised—into a political savior of their own making.


Bonfire of the Proprieties: Winning Friends and Influencing People in 2018

Photo by Connor Jalbert on Unsplash

So this is where we are, America. Polarized. It’s Us versus Them in a battle royale, and we’re fighting tooth and nail over just about every imaginable topic. Few people are interested in finding common ground as a starting place to facilitate healing for our nation, or more importantly, its citizenry. But if you’re not raging at either end of spectrum, there’s a path to higher middleground.


How Come Nobody Can Let the Past Go?

White nationalists led a torch march through the grounds of the University of Virginia on Friday night in Charlottesville, Va. Credit: Edu Bayer for The New York Times

How come nobody can let the past go and learn to love and respect each other?

A friend of mine who supports leaving Confederate memorials where they are posed that very question a few days ago. And it’s a good question. Why can’t Confederate sympathizers let go of the past? There’s a faction of Americans who believe that removing these memorials is an attempt to erase history of those who fought and died in historic battles. I disagree.


With Black People It’s Either-Or

Earliest known photograph of the White House. The image was taken in 1846 by John Plumbe during the administration of James K. Polk. (Library of Congress/John Plumbe) Found at:

Why is that when positive references are made regarding Black Americans, our accomplishments, or our contributions to society, certain people feel the need to add the proviso (condition) “they didn’t do it alone,” but when negative references are made about Black Americans the underlying caveat (condition) is that the grouping is reserved exclusively for Black Americans?

Case in point—


Why I’m Lifting My Self-Imposed Ban on Discussing Politics

Flag by Jasper Johns

I have a burning passion for optimism, character, and faith. If you’ve read any of my posts, those are recognizable themes. For the longest time I didn’t talk about race relations in America, and it dawned on me that to keep silent on this topic would be to betray myself, my heritage, and my faith. For an even longer time, I avoided discussing politics, except in certain politically homogenous circles.