There is an American flag waving over a patch of petunias in my front yard. I support the flag, but I also support those who feel so strongly about the actions of our country that they are compelled to burn the flag, take a knee, or protest in the streets. I salute these people on this Fourth of July, not the ones sitting on the National Mall and making the nation’s birthday party all about them. This year the powers-that-be have turned out a birthday cake made of spoiled milk and egotistical eggs and happily floured it with division.

But wait a minute—Independence Day is supposed to be about celebrating OUR freedom.

It is about rejoicing in small-town parades and on city streets that, in 1776, we came together—and look what we accomplished.

We came together.

Here’s why we are no longer a great nation (and will never be under the current regime):

  • We take children away from their families and put them in cages.
  • We hold the weakest in inhumane conditions.
  • We no longer answer the call for help with an open hand.
  • We propose to parade tanks on our streets and naively believe that it’s a show of strength.
  • We do not stand up to tyrants; we invite them to dinner.
  • We continue to let race play a role on our streets, in our housing, and in our schools.
  • We let children go to bed hungry and ignore the homeless.
  • We have people dying because they must choose between food and insulin and other life-saving drugs.
  • We turn a blind eye to the harassment of women and the assault on their rights.
  • We value the almighty buck over the majesty of our environment and all its creatures.
  • We are destroying our life-giving world—plastic bottle by plastic bottle, coal plant by coal plant, car by car.
  • We have fed anger, instead of reason.
  • We have sold compassion for votes.

We are no longer a great nation because—we have forgotten how to come together.

So, as you gather with family and friends around the barbecue grill or under the fireworks-studded sky this weekend, take a moment to think: How can we do this better together?

And don’t eat the cake. It’s terrible.