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It happens almost every year. The day after the Fourth always feels more real somehow than the day before. Back to business, I hear myself thinking. Uncle Sam has had his birthday party and the lingering feelings of celebrating the miracle of America begin to fade. The parade and fireworks are yesterday’s news while, this year especially, today’s and tomorrow’s challenges become clear.
Together with the predictably fast erosion of summer, presidential campaigns will now shift into high gear. Political rhetoric will seem to peak during the coming conventions, but between them and Election Day, Republicans and Democrats alike will raise the volume on their causes. I almost wrote “promises” but political promises, particularly in presidential campaigning, are too much like last night’s fireworks’ – smoke and debris.
Still, one should not make light of this year’s race, one of the most important in our nation’s young history. Many believe our country is in the process of beginning to realize the dreams of 1776; many others think that America is moving away from the vision of its Founding Fathers. But come November, our government of, by and for the people will take shape for the next four years. And the miracle of America is that we will all live with it.
Democracy may be about the best there is as a form of government, but ours has its problems. During the coming months, debates will rage over such issues as the economy, unemployment, healthcare, foreign policy, immigration, entitlements, equal rights and their many sub-headings. Voters will hear all sides of each issue from every corner of our tech-wired world. Candidates need to pay attention not only to polls and the media but to the Internet and the tweets and twitters of the electorate. The “voice of the people” is larger and louder than ever … and still growing.
Thank God for the Fourth, I tell myself on the fifth – and many days thereafter. The freedom we have just celebrated is far from priceless. Ask any soldier. And every day every American needs to protect it – with our voices and, everyone, listen up please, with our votes.