For at least one day, on our own Independence Day, let’s focus our attention on the word that comes AFTER those hyphens that are so popular nowadays. That word is AMERICAN.

You know what I mean. We have subdivided our citizens into so many groups – and I hesitate to list them for two reasons. I will be derided for who I list first (which may make me racist or sexist or some other –ist) or I will be derided for who I list last (same reason.) So, contemplate your own list.

And me? I belong to my own hyphenated groups. White- , Male- , Retired- , College Graduate-, Married- , Right handed- , Middle Class- , Lutheran- , Homeowner- , . . . and there are more.

Put the word “American” after each one of those and you’ll see what I mean.

I am aware that those hyphens matter – but maybe sometimes we get too wrapped up in them. I know I do.

Wouldn’t it be great if for one day, we honored the fact that we’re ALL American? Can we do that tomorrow, on our own country’s Independence Day? Can we set aside those hyphens for a time and be unhyphenated Americans?

When you go to a parade tomorrow, look around. All those folks there are Americans. They were born here. They were naturalized here. They work here. They contribute here. Shake some hands and say hello to some of them. Do the same at a community picnic. Do the same at your town’s fireworks display. Just for tomorrow – or longer than that if you want.

On our Independence Day, let’s focus on how our founding fathers used such great words as “We the People” and “All men are created equal” and “E Pluribus Unum”.

Give it a thought. Give it a try.

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