By Becky Nelson
Keep your guard up. Stay aware. Be cautious. Be careful. Beware. Stay vigilant.
Those are my recommendations for your celebration of Independence Day. Each phrase should be considered when dealing with the pandemic, with the public, with online business, with driving, with every aspect of your everyday life as well but it is of special importance on our celebration of Independence Day.
With China recently trying to smuggle meat into the U.S. packed in electronics, trying to steal our proprietary research and industrial secrets and trying to intercept or interfere with our research into a vaccine or treatment of COVID-19, and Russia and who knows who else trying to hack into our defenses and perhaps our elections and working social media to influence our thoughts and practices, we need to stay vigilant and on guard to protect ourselves from international harm and preserve our independence from foreign influence.
With the silent virus haunting our every move and infecting people without any symptoms who then can spread the disease without knowing so, we need to be cautious and careful and aware of our surroundings and our interactions with others to protect ourselves and them from catching what could be a disastrous disease. Wearing masks and staying six feet apart can help keep us all safe and is a matter of common courtesy and caring for one another, not a grab at our independence. These precautions can help secure our independence from life and death health care interventions.
With dishonest and opportunistic individuals and groups trying to hack into our online accounts or get us to click on a seemingly important plea or demand or give personal information over the phone to gain access to our money and identity, we need to be ever vigilant and discerning in our everyday activity to preserve our independence and freedom to surf the net, use the phone and carry on legitimate business, educational pursuits and perform our work duties online or through virtual means.
With black Americans marching, protesting and rallying to raise a cry of injustice and inequality, the rest of us need to wake up, listen to the clamor and change our political, legal and personal ways to guarantee the equality and independence that each and every American of every color and persuasion deserves and should enjoy without fear. The independence of some of us to carry on with our lives as we see fit isn’t available to all, and it should be. We need to gather together and make the necessary changes in our otherwise wonderful country to keep it wonderful, welcoming and independent of government oversteps and interference as well as the chains of prejudice and hatred.
Our history in the United States is important to learn so that we don’t make the same mistakes in the future. That is the wonderful beauty of these United States of America. We can suffer injustice and make things right; endure adversity and overcome; make mistakes and work together to correct them. We have done so in the past and we must do so in the future. We aren’t a perfect nation, but we have been one that listens to its people and responds to problems and dilemmas together to make it better. Let’s work together to make sure it stays so. Let’s preserve that independence and with it the respect and courtesy for one another that the independence demands. Independence does not mean “my way or the highway.” Independence means that I am free and independent so that I can think and feel and act on my own personal beliefs without fear of being tortured, castigated or fearful of retribution so long as my beliefs and actions do not harm my fellow Americans. I see too much division in the nation of late and not enough agreement to disagree and commitment to meet somewhere in the middle to make decisions tolerable to those at odds over decisions and in the best interest of the majority of the populace. We need to wake up and change.
Enjoy your Independence Day. But remember that freedom is not free. It comes at a harsh price sometimes and only with perseverance, vigilance, caution, awareness and a commitment to work hard to preserve and protect our freedoms and liberties as well as our fellow Americans at our elbows and make this nation a true melting pot — the one that the Statue of Liberty symbolizes and the “New Colossus” poem by Emma Lazarus at her base announces:
“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’”
Becky Nelson is co-owner of Beaver Pond Farm in Newport, New Hampshire. You can contact her through the farm page on Facebook and Instagram, visit the retail store or email her at email@example.com.