Choosing Hope on the Fourth of July

Its fourth of July and I am sitting in the gallery of the Oregon Senate waiting to watch a vote. As a lobbyist, I often find myself waiting and watching the process. It’s one of the hazards of my job, as well as working on holidays.

I had arrived just before the posting of the colors. A flash of irritation crossed my mind that I hadn’t arrived a few minutes later to miss it as I just wanted to listen to the floor debate and head home to salvage what I could of this holiday.

But as I stood and watched the Senate pages ceremoniously walk the flag up the aisle of the Senate floor, it occurred to be how perfectly appropriate it was to be present on this day at the Oregon legislature.

After the pledge, a state senator stood and shared a history of the penning of our national anthem and sung a heartfelt rendition of it. To my surprise I found myself tearing up.

I thought about our country and our democratic process. I thought about how divided our country has been. I thought about the trepidation I feel for our future. Right or left, the two parties are united around the politics of fear.

It occurs to me that I could choose to feel hope over fear. I could choose to have faith in our democracy. I could chose to celebrate that which unites us.

On this Fourth of July, I am glad to spend it watching our democratic process and choosing hope.

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