Dear America, my wish for you on your birthday is… the truth. I want you to be able to look at your past in full — the good, the bad, and the ugly. I want you to face the fear and shame that might emerge from facing such facts. I want you to acknowledge the emotion of that: anger, embarrassment, sadness, and more. It might hurt, and that pain is ok. We should not run away from it. When we face the pain and the truth, we can integrate them into a more full story of us. We can heal.
America, I want you to experience real love. When you love another person, you want to know that person completely. You embrace the broken parts. You comfort the sad parts. You learn from the mistakes. You take them down off some pedestal of perfection and see them for the human they are, love them for the full person they are. You don’t just love the parts of them that make you feel good about yourself. That’s not loving a person. That’s using a person. I want the people of the United States of America to love America, to know her fully, to acknowledge her achievements and her failures. I want us to love us, hold us, heal us so that we can become the America we’ve always been capable of.
Love is the greatest gift we can give ourselves.
Happy birthday, America. I love you.