As the Fourth of July approaches, I was thinking about what I have in common with the people who live in my town, especially those who have differing political views, and I wondered how we could even communicate. We all know that we’re a politically divided country right now. Many of us on both sides are angry and/or disappointed in the other, not understanding anymore what joins us, wondering and afraid that the other side is going to get its way, whatever way we think that might be.
Then it occurred to me that every day I wave to people I don’t know. Complete strangers who wave back. Why? Because I own a Jeep. And they own a Jeep. It’s a ritual between Wrangler owners and, silly as it might sound, it’s enough for us to cross over any differences that might exist between us and to engage in that most simple and respectful gesture: a hand wave.
If a Jeep can do that, surely there are other things. And, to me, the most obvious is our mutual love of pets—our dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, snakes, whatever they may be. Walk your dog and see how many people smile and comment and engage in conversation with you. Do you care what their political affiliation is? Do they care what yours is? The answer is no. And that’s how it should be. Civility winning over divisiveness. Kindness over party loyalty.
The Fourth of July seems like a good time for all of us to take a deep breath. To think about what we share as human beings and use that as a starting point for figuring out what our bonds are and exercising them. Take your dog for a walk through your town or to a dog park and start a conversation with another pet owner. Play with your cat on a stoop and see if someone stops to talk. Think about how our dogs look at us and cover our backs and let’s see if we can seize that spirit and turn that dedication and commitment toward each other. It’s an ancient and enduring bond that we have with our animals, one that we should emulate between ourselves as Americans.
Maybe this Independence Day we should take some time to turn away from the fireworks for a while and look seriously at each other. What could happen? Maybe we’ll see some smiles and hear laughter. Maybe we’ll start laughing, too. Maybe we’ll find less to argue about and more to discuss and share. It’s worth a try. It’s definitely worth a try.
From all of us at Petswelcome, we wish you, your family and, of course, your pets, a very happy Fourth of July!