Posted on July 3, 2020 by Rabbi Arnold S. Gluck
This year July 4 is different. Yes, it is still a celebration of the birth of our nation. But this year it is shrouded in a cloud of crisis and controversy about the meaning and nature of our freedom. For some, American liberty means license to do whatever we want, even if it involves blatant disregard for the health and wellbeing of our neighbors. What a distortion of American values to think that freedom means having the right to behave in such a way as to endanger the lives of others by refusing to wear a mask in public during a pandemic!
American independence wasn’t won by any individual. It was a great collective effort that involved immense sacrifice by all so that we could become a nation, a union of states joined together to create a greater good. From the outset and to this very day, America and its great accomplishments is a story not so much of independence, but of interdependence, – of people from diverse backgrounds coming together to build and to be something better and grander than any one person could achieve.
We are all indebted to others, most of whom we will never know personally but whose efforts make so much possible for us. We are bound together in a web of shared creativity and responsibility. This is what we should celebrate and honor on this Fourth of July – the blessing of interdependence.
Albert Einstein wrote: “A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends upon the labor of [others], living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the measure as I have received and am still receiving.” On this Fourth of July, let us give thanks for the extraordinary gifts we offer one another, for the ways we sustain and bless each other. And let us pledge to show our love for this country by loving and caring for one another.
Rabbi Arnie Gluck