Happy Independence Day!

 

President Obama turned my head

Meeting President Obama at the White House picnic.

Representative John Lewish (D-Ga), Craig and Sharyn

Congressman John Lewis (D-GA). A civil rights hero.

I had the good fortune recently, courtesy of my brother, Representative Steve Israel, to visit the White House, the Capital, and the Supreme Court. I can be as cynical as anyone whose favorite past-time is discussing the myriad ways in which our government has failed us. Yet being in Washington DC, particularly in a heated election year and at a time of serious debate about a number of issues, I was reminded of the beauty of our democracy. It refocused my attention to how productive the rancor of opposing sides can be; the brilliant balance of government branches created by our founders; the passion with which the rights of Americans have been fought for and won over the past two plus centuries. In the absence of media coverage that reminds us of what is actually working, the perception of a “broken system” becomes our reality. The more distant we become from our system of government, the more fertile the ground for cynicism to grow and flourish.

On this independence day, I want to acknowledge how grateful I am to live in a country that seeks to “form a more perfect union” recognizing that while we are not there yet, we will always strive for better. It’s a messy, often confusing, and sometimes surprising system. When you walk through the halls of our historic institutions, you realize that conflict, contention, and even cycnism have nothing on our will toward positive progress.

Happy Independence Day everyone. Enjoy a safe, enjoyable and relaxing weekend, and take a moment to think about what is good about America.

 

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