Tending my garden

From the time I was a small child, I was taught that this day of the year was a day to celebrate my country. I am certainly not naive enough to think that my country is wonderful in all respects, but at its very best it has been pretty impressive.

Unfortunately at this moment the United States is far from its best. It is turning mean.

All the way at the top, within our government itself, I see bullying, cruelty, racism, misogyny, scapegoating and xenophobia — even an embrace of Nazi ideologues. Never thought I would see that one.

I can’t bring myself to watch fireworks this evening. I love this country too much to pretend everything is ok, when things in this land are very far from ok.

And so today, rather than go out and watch fireworks, I am spending the day in the lab, working to build something beautiful to share with the world. The people who I am making this for will not need to belong to a particular tribe, or have a certain skin color, or speak with the right accent.

They just need to be humans, because to be human is to possess an intrinsic dignity. We are all, every one of us, marvels of the Universe. Each single person on this planet is a fresh miracle.

If we fail to see the miracle of another human being, then we just demean ourselves. It is our own humanity that we destroy.

So today I am taking Voltaire’s advice and working to create something beautiful, not for one particular set of humans, but something to be shared and enjoyed by all. As Candide eventually figured out, sometimes you just need to tend your garden.

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