Julie Seedorf: Say something positive about the country

Published 10:00 pm Sunday, June 25, 2017

Something About Nothing, By Julie Seedorf

I can’t dance. I would love to learn to dance. My toes tap when I hear music. Unfortunately, there were not many dance classes when I was young. Another person my age reminded me of that recently because she, too, was envious of the opportunities kids have today to learn to dance.

The past week we attended my granddaughter’s dance recital in the Twin Cities. She dances with Center Stage Dance Studio out of Prior Lake. I am always mesmerized by the dancers and the work these young women and men go through to put on a performance of excellence.

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I was brought to tears during the evening. The daddy-daughter dance is always a fun one to watch. Occasionally you have a father that is talented in the dance, but usually, you see the fun and the happiness on the daughter’s faces as they dance with their dads, who are a little uncoordinated. This year the dance was a tribute to all the armed forces with the dads wearing T-shirts for the various branches. At the end of the dance, they recognized two fathers who are on active duty.

I was brought to tears not only by the service of all veterans and the two officers, but by the reaction of the audience. When these two men were introduced, the audience stood in tribute, and the applause lasted a long time. Then, those in the audience who were veterans were asked to stand, and again the rest of the audience paid tribute to them. After we were all seated again and the lights turned off, the curtains closed and a picture of the flag of the United States of America was projected on the curtains. Again the audience burst out with loud applause and verbal tributes. This too went on for a time.

My eyes were teary as I thought of what the active duty men sacrifice for us. The tears continued when I looked at my husband and the other veterans and knew what they still live through today in their memories.

When I looked at the flag, I felt a burst of pride that I live in the United States. It is only by a quirk of birth I was lucky enough to be born here. Then my thoughts turned to all that is going on in our country today; the disrespect for the flag, the disrespect for those who work hard to keep us safe and the disrespect for our laws and for other human beings. For a moment I felt sad, and then I looked around and saw all the positive support that was shown in that auditorium and said to myself, “This is the way it should be.” I wanted the feeling to last long after we left the recital.

I don’t always show respect in what I say and do. I get caught up in someone else’s anger and verbal assault at all we perceive is wrong. I do not like myself when I do that. In my heart I know it is not the way for change, yet I join because there is power in a crowd and it leaks out and permeates everything and everyone near and far if we listen.

Maybe the way out of the anxiety and mess is to step back and look at ourselves and see if we add to the problem by what we say and do. Do we incite anger or positive common sense? And if we face reality with positivity and real solutions without anger can we make a difference?

I would like to live in the world I was in at the dance recital when the audience embraced our country and servicemen and women with a standing ovation. The only way I see our world might mimic a little bit of those few moments is if embrace our differences, walk away from hate and negativity and take responsibility for our part in causing the anxiety that seems to have gripped us the past months.

It doesn’t matter if those we look up to at the government level or those who are entertainers choose to belittle, berate and throw hateful rhetoric around. We don’t have to follow it. We have a choice on the way we approach people and situations. It is up to us one person at a time to build a positive nation for our children.

The Fourth of July is almost here, and while we are shooting off the fireworks and celebrating the day, say something positive about our country to your neighbor. Without Independence Day, our lives might be very different.

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at hermionyvidaliabooks@gmail.com.