Fourth of July weekend can come with information overload: I tend to mute the moronic TV ads insisting I can be so much more independent in a new car or with patio paver stones that never fade with age. Have you noticed that local politicians fall over each other to attend parades, barbecues (it’s the free food) and ribbon cutting ceremonies, all to remind constituents that they’re out there representing our best interests on a weekend where in New Jersey, the state government has shut down due to a budget squabble.

Please, don’t get me started.

Aside from the bluster and the fireworks, both political and those rockets being primed, staged and fine-tuned at countless parks across the state, I think of the aging veterans, reformers and average people who’ve found their voice and taken an active role in being heard.

I lived through the turbulent late 1960s and early 1970s when clashes were common place. The years that followed were filled with apathy and taking for granted all that we had.

In that turbulent time period when so many shouted: “America, love it or leave it!” our own rally cry was: “America, change it or lose it.”

Perhaps with a president in DC more focused on petulant, misogynistic rants that blend paranoia and vindictiveness over leadership, we all need to be reminded that independence is more that a bitter Twitter quip that only leads to division.

I embrace that rally cry all the more.

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