Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Independence Day Parade

Sometimes I feel myself holding back, wondering if what I want to share in my blog will offend someone. That's not a bad thing by any means. But it messes with my impulse for authenticity and my drive for healthy honesty.

As a person who lives very much "out there" (Hello? Have you read Involuntary Joy or some of my blogs?), imagine my surprise at feeling hesitant about sharing how I celebrated the anniversary of our nation's independence. Why would I, the daughter of history teachers who included me in assisting with political campaigns as a child (in fact, my father is even a former Republican candidate for state office), hesitate to share that?

What has become of me? Has our current political climate affected my sensibilities?

I sure hope not. That's why I've determined to hesitate no more. I'm telling what I did to celebrate Independence Day, by golly. You ready?

I marched in an Independence Day parade in Clear Lake, Iowa, on behalf of a candidate that I hope gets to stay in office (that's me with Iowa Governor Chet Culver) and on behalf of another candidate I hope gets to oust an incumbent from office (that's me with Senate candidate Roxanne Conlin, former assistant attorney general for the state of Iowa). And, Sharon Steckman, I'd sure vote to keep you in office if I lived in your district!

I participated politely and respectfully, proud to be part of a country that - for 234 years - has adeptly navigated political changes in leadership by engaging regular citizens in the process.

If you think I hesitated because I didn't want to offend my parents, think again. They might have marched alongside me if we still lived in the same part of the state. The birth of Mark's and my oldest son had many in our family - beginning with us - rethinking our concept of political systems and the way government influences social structures. But that's a topic for a fully different blog. This one is about me exercising my freedom on Independence Day (well, technically, the day after). It's about me, being me.

I walked a parade route and saw people lining the streets in celebration of their country's freedoms. I watched political candidates waving, greeting, and connecting as best they could, and I saw people choosing to respond or not to.

Most people were polite and respectful. Some (very few) were not. But, if citizens choose not to get involved or if they choose to participate in a manner that is not polite and respectful, we might not like it, but that is a celebration of our freedoms as well, isn't it?

That doesn't describe what I did or how I did it, though. So why did I hesitate to post this?

I hope you watch the vlog and see what I saw. I hope you spend a few minutes walking along with me. We live in a beautiful country. Incredibly beautiful. Comprised of citizens of every make and manner. I'm glad anyone chooses to sacrifice his or her own time and personal dreams to navigate the political system into office. It's not an easy path. And I hope the only ones who choose to navigate such a path do so for all the best reasons: to serve the citizens of the city, county, state or country they love.

It's my Iowa. It's my America. How beautiful.


Anonymous said...

I DID enjoy going on the parade with you. Looked like lots of fun. My favorite shot was the view of your family walking ahead of you, Stross holding Mark's hand and Skye walking beside. Beautiful.


Anonymous said...

Yay for Chet Culver! He was my teacher before he entered politics and was the reason I started voting at 18 (even though I was a little scared). I still respect him for helping me understand the importance of letting my voice be heard in elections.

~Kim (Mack) Voorhees

Joy said...

Thanks, Belynda. That image occurs frequently, and I always feel the urge to capture it. I love it, too.

Kim! How many people can say they learned their government lessons from a governor? Way cool. Thanks for sharing it!