I hope so as I harken back to our 200th anniversary in 1976 and wondered where I would be for the 250th, coming up in five short years.

1976. My parents’ oldest child (moi) had just graduated high school. Mom was a Canadian citizen her entire life, keeping her Green Card for over fifty years. Her younger sister, my Aunt, took the leap and became a United States citizen that year, a momentous occasion. Apropos of her being an English teacher and the first college graduate of her family of three sisters, she gifted me, for graduation, her 1957 Smith-Corona portable electric typewriter, the first portable electric ever, in hopes that it would also get me through college (it did, along with many of my dorm-mates, pre-laptop) and persuade me to write.

I believe it was 18 of us close family that day, at a long line of card tables festively set up in our Buffalo backyard. Never ones to miss a party, the Canadians drove down for the day, including my grandfather and great-aunt. We marveled at our country’s birthday and how far we’d come as a nation.

Forty-five years later, I’m not so sure. Don’t get me wrong. I remain optimistic but much must be done, especially as our divided Supreme Court seems hell-bent on throwing out the Voting Rights Act when it is needed most.

The Pandemic should have brought us together as one people, but it did not. Gross mismanagement and politicization killed over 600,000 Americans and drove us further apart. Add to that the Big Lie of Mr. Trump not fairly losing the presidential election, and the second Bigger Lie that the insurrection of January 6 of this year was just another tourist day at the U.S. Capitol and we’re in deep trouble.

Challenges are to be overcome. If there’s a will, there’s a way. In the past 45 years, I’ve moved countless times, always with the heaviest “laptop” in the world, my 1957 Smith Corona typewriter. I even know where to get rare ribbons for said machine. I did become somewhat of a writer, though I prefer a full key-sensitive backlit keyboard attached to my Macbook Pro with a 30″ monitor to do so.

I will concentrate my efforts on voting rights. My swing state is doing everything in its power to keep city residents like me from voting and that must stop. Federally we desperately need H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Then, we need a workable version of the For The People Act. By this summer/fall at the latest. It’s a heavy lift, but Congress needs to know that the people want this.

Locally we have to make sure candidates believe in the Constitution and our right to vote. If not, we must vote them out until things are set on an even keel once again. Now is a perilous time for our representative democracy and it’s about time it represents we, the people. We pay you folks to represent us. You can’t change the Constitution, at least not easily and not without talking to us and each other, which you seem unable to do at present. If you don’t work for us we can and will fire you and hire someone who will allow us a living wage, affordable health care, drivable roads and bridges, wi-fi, childcare tax credits and a livable planet for our kids and grandkids. Not to mention making sure guns are not available to those inclined to take out fellow citizens at church or school or Wal-Mart.

My vote counts. So does yours, and our neighbors’ as well. Let’s make our votes count for something. I cannot imagine the alternative if we do not stand up, say “I’m here!” and be counted. Happy 4th! Dee


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