A Message of Hope for Independence Day

A Message of Hope for Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July, everyone.

We join our fellow citizens today in reflecting on what it means to live in America and to be an American.

It blows my mind thinking about all that we have been through in the last few years, and what we’ve had to fight for.

I have to admit, when we all went to bed on the night of November 3, with Trump leading in many of the swing states—once again making the pollsters who predicted a Biden landslide look like charlatans—I started thinking about a plan “B.”

Did I really want to live in an America that re-elected Donald Trump to lead our country?

Yes, I knew that our electoral college basically cancels millions of progressive votes on the coasts, but that flaw in our system didn’t change the very real possibility that we were on the verge of electing a man whose goal was to destroy our democracy for his personal gain, and that tens of millions of my fellow citizens had been convinced that this was “OK.”

Well, thanks to what might have been the largest collective political organizing effort that I’ve ever been a part of, that didn’t happen.

America did not choose authoritarianism over democracy--by a landslide in the U.S., but only by the tiniest of margins in Wisconsin and the rest of the swing states--where the votes actually matter.

And where are we now?

The New York Times released a forty minute video showing detailed footage of the January 6 insurrection. I could only get through ten minutes of it. I didn't need to relive what I watched on TV that day. It was scarring enough the first time. I know what I saw and it was an attack on our country. The fact that the New York Times had to put together this video to correct the whitewashing of history by the Trump-cult, which includes Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, is a testament to how close America still is to falling over a cliff.

And where are we now?

14 states (probably more to come) have passed voter suppression bills aimed at making it impossible for Democrats to win in 2022, which could illegally hand Republicans the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. Many of those Republicans, including our own Congressman Tom Tiffany, voted to overturn the presidential election results and illegally hand the Presidency to Trump.

And where are we now?

After 81 million votes for Joe Biden were cast, a mandate that literally screamed for the Democratic Party to save our country, we have two Democratic Senators--Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema--currently blocking our ability to defend ourselves against this assault on voting rights by refusing to join the rest of their party in the Senate and kill the filibuster that allows the Republican minority to block the “For the People Act” which would provide desperately needed voting protections throughout the country.

It’s enough to fill the most optimistic American with cynicism.

So we’re here up in Northern Wisconsin, God’s country, celebrating the Fourth of July, looking at the American flag, and wondering where this is all going to go. How much more strength do we have to keep believing the system our forefathers created will work, and that we will elect the right people to lead us through these dark times?

We don't know. We honestly don't. But somehow the "divine" granted humans this crazy ability to hope.

And we can still hope that somehow this ship will right itself.

And we can also hope that when we're too tired, depressed, or cynical to carry that baton anymore, others will pick it up and continue the fight.

And these pictures below give us that hope.

These are tourists in Minocqua taking pictures in front of the progressive signs we put up to show our town that we will not be deterred in bringing progressive ideals to this conservative area.

These tourists were willing to take that baton, if just for a few moments, and it means everything to us.

We’re not going to lose hope as long as these people don’t lose hope.

Happy Fourth of July, and may we pray on this day that America, while still fumbling in the dark, keeps finding its way to the light.

Kirk Bangstad
Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company and Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC.

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