I don’t have a history of celebrating the 4th. This day exists in my experience as an opportunity for an extended weekend. Yesterday, I was introduced to the word “Interdependence” as the middle step between Emancipation and Liberation on Rev. angel Kyodo williams’ website when I signed up for the Great Radical Race Read. I have wondered for a while about how firmly attached many Americans are to the construct of ‘independence”, as is celebrated on this day, and as is lived day-to-day the rest of the year.
The original immigrants wanted to establish independence from England. The path toward affirming that independence required explicit dependence in two specific areas. Land was removed from Native Americans and Black people were removed from their land to be leveraged as labor. The taking of land and of people was unjust and it established an unsustainable social framework that is at the foundation of the unrest that has now reached a tipping point in this country.
Those actions by people in positions of power externalized the true costs of the land and of the labor that shaped, and continues to shape, our country. The current denial of the “us” and “them” dynamic perpetuates and reinforces the exploitation of a social construct that empowers a few and disempowers many. This is a very simplified tangent of one my current thought processes as I try to understand the mess the country is in and my part in it. There are many other people and groups of people who have been systematically exploited and disadvantaged in this country. This is my first attempt to use my voice, as a white-bodied person, to affirm that I will not be silent.
There is a lot of uncomfortable work that will be necessary to transition the momentum of the moment and make it a movement to decentralize the power that has been held in the hands of a few and to redistribute opportunity and to promote equity. Rev. angel Kyodo shares in Radical Dharma that we should be “infusing wisdom, compassion, and unconditional love into every breath, at all levels, in all corners, and across boundaries of race, color, caste, creed, and religion (pg. xxx). We are not separate from or independent of each other or the planet. Reframing today to celebrate Interdependence Day as a day focused on connection, instead of celebrating separation and independence, is one way to begin transitioning toward a new future for our country.