Record editorial: Patriotism, and optimism, shine through the darkness on Independence Day |

Record editorial: Patriotism, and optimism, shine through the darkness on Independence Day

We are celebrating Independence Day halfway through one of the most challenging years in recent U.S. history.

A global pandemic has killed nearly 130,000 Americans and has brought the economy to its knees. Protests for racial justice swept the country on a scale unseen since the 1960s after the death of yet another unarmed Black man in police custody. As evidenced by the reaction to both generation-defining events, the nation’s broken political landscape is, if anything, growing even more divisive.

And with the coronavirus surging in many states, including Utah, and a bitter presidential election ahead, there is reason to think the remaining six months of the year will be at least as difficult as what we’ve already endured.

Yet as bleak as the state of affairs is, there is also cause for optimism and, indeed, patriotism on this Fourth of July.

Consider how many essential workers, from doctors and nurses to grocery store clerks and postal carriers, have risked their safety during the pandemic to keep the rest of us safe, fed and secure. Collectively, they represent the kind of selflessness that defines our country when it’s at its best.

Consider that, though the issue of face coverings has become a political flashpoint, nearly 90% of Americans have made masks part of their public attire, according to a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll. Wearing one is a sacrifice they’re making not to protect themselves but rather the people around them.

Consider the righteous passion of the millions of people of all races who have poured onto the nation’s streets to demand equality for people of color. It is shameful that the fight for civil rights still must continue in 2020, but what is more patriotic than a new generation of American heroes stepping up to wage it?

There are countless other examples, around the nation and in our community, of the American spirit shining through the darkness currently shrouding the country.

And take some measure of comfort in this: This is not the first turbulent period our nation has faced. The history books are littered with them. As in those previous struggles, it is the patriots rising to meet the moment, in myriad ways large and small, who give us hope.

On this Independence Day, as we celebrate without the typical fanfare and under unprecedented circumstances, look to their example. And in doing so, realize that, despite how disconcerting our present situation is, there are, as always in this country, better days ahead.

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