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Boomer Grandpa: Can’t we just blow up partisan politics?

July 6, 2017 GMT

When I was growing up, July 4 was a significant day in our family. It wasn’t that we bought a lot of fireworks, but my dad did enjoy a good sparkler and a little noise. I can remember him lighting sparklers and firecrackers with his cigarette.

For the most part our family kept to the Black Cat type single firecrackers. I would stick firecrackers on my army men or in other toys. I can remember sticking them on the top of fence posts or in the metal poles of our clothesline. My older brother even remembers putting firecrackers under coconut shells and watching them fly in the air.

Don’t do what I did

I would be horrified and shocked if I saw my grandkids doing some of the things I just mentioned. I would probably lecture my daughter to get control of her children.

Growing up around a lot of World War II and Korean veterans, I always sensed that July 4 meant a little more to them. The reason in my opinion was that they may have spent a year or two fighting abroad for our country.

Their experiences In Europe, the Pacific or Korea changed every one of them. Our enemies at that time had and were attacking our very way of life — our freedom.

Most of the time, I never knew what my dad was thinking or why he did some of the things he did. Although he was in management at the tail end of his career, deep down he was a union man. He was a blue-collar guy who grew up poor.

He was distrustful of the wealthy and wasn’t too fond of government rules and regulations. He fought for freedom and his liberties were very important to him.

I haven’t felt too keen as July 4 approached this year. The main reason is that daily there are stories on the evening news or in the newspapers about how this country is politically polarized or just plain polarized. The left moves further left and the right moves further right.

The opinions, hate and disagreements on social media have not slowed down a bit, in my opinion. This week’s issue of Time Magazine called it viral anger and it’s not good for any of us.

The wedge between many Americans continues to widen. I do not believe this is what a majority of us desire. Good gravy, why in the world can’t Democrats and Republicans work together on legislation at the federal or state level? It’s the right way in a democracy to undertake and accomplish the needs of our society and communities.

My friend Lisa Janet sends out inspirational quotes to a lot of folks on a regular basis. On the day I sat down to type this, I received an email containing an Anne Frank quote, “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”

Appreciate your freedoms every day

So I’m gearing things down a notch for the 4th. I just want to enjoy and appreciate the freedoms and positive aspects of living in Rochester or in Southeast Minnesota.

During the recent Sports Night at RochesterFest, I witnessed numerous families and hundreds of children enjoying the many events that were planned. When we all get out from behind monitors, computers, televisions and phones, we get along remarkably well.

It was a beautiful evening. The freedom we enjoy to participate in happenings like this is noteworthy. I’d like to thank the many people who volunteered and worked to make all that possible.

It’s significant to enjoy the diversity of living in Rochester. Here, people of many nationalities work and live together. Most of us feel safe in this community and area. We have freedom to live our life the way we wish.

In a span of 24 hours, I played a round of golf with friends, took my two grandchildren to the Soldiers Field swimming pool, and stopped down at Thursdays on First. I witnessed so many people enjoying themselves.

My dad loved the 4th and fireworks. He lived his life with pride in his service and our country. A couple of weeks ago, Lisa sent me this quote, attributed to Helen Keller: “What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes part of us.”

I think that’s why my dad loved the 4th. He deeply enjoyed the freedoms that we have as Americans — the freedoms that he, along with many others, fought for.

Grandkid Quote of the Week:

My wife missed a few shots during some badminton play in our backyard. My granddaughter commented, “Grandma, you need to up your game.”