Saturday, July 1, 2017
Today I am grateful for shared respect. As I am writing a memoir about my experiences while living as an expat for three years in Jakarta, Indonesia, I stumbled upon this AP photo of Barack Obama with the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo.
It reminds me how excited the Indonesian staff at the American Embassy Recreation Association were to help us expats celebrate the Fourth of July. It was my favorite event of the year. Their country was struggling with the terms “freedom of press”, “fair elections” and “equal rights”. They loved the different birth nationalities and skin colors that represent America. Hearing the wide range of accents of “real” Americans while all celebrated together gave them hope. To them it seemed we in the USA had it all figured out. Now I wonder if they do. We are struggling with basic inalienable rights more than we have in the last fifty years, maybe a hundred, maybe longer.
I miss our founding fathers. I miss our past presidents, good or bad, those I voted for or those I didn’t. Even if I didn’t agree with every policy, I believe they understood and found people to surround themselves with who understood the importance of working for ALL people. They put our needs, our concerns, our hopes, and our dreams ahead of their own and their families, if not all of the time, much of the time. I wasn’t always happy, but I wasn’t always afraid, either. I am afraid a lot, now.
On this July 4th weekend, the Independence day of the United States of America, I am happy that Barack Obama, who epitomizes dignity and shared respect, is carrying the American flag to one of the most populous Muslim nations. Give our beloved adopted country my very best, Mr. President! Happy Fourth of July!