Gloria Steinem once said, “the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” She is certainly correct.

I’ve researched my books, traveled my country and overseas, and pondered the United States as a beacon of hope and freedom in the world. How does this image jive with our history of annihilating indigenous people and enslaving African people? In more recent times, how does this image jive with our last President invading another country under false pretenses and our current President having a “secret kill list”? I am certain that drone attacks, which have killed many civilians in addition to their intended targets, create more enemies than they destroy; that they help foster sympathy for, and increase membership in, terrorist organizations. It seems to me that the most effective way to stop terrorism is to stop causing harm in other countries.

I want to believe that my country always stands for freedom and justice, but it too often hasn’t and doesn’t. So the 4th of July is problematic for me. When I responded to a request from my publisher’s blog to write about what I would be celebrating on the 4th, my answer was not the same as it was 12 years ago.

The truth has pissed me off. It has saddened me. It has strengthened my resolve to write more, speak out more, and try to make a positive difference in a violent world.

You can read what I wrote, as well as what my writing partner in Gather at the Table, Sharon Morgan, wrote in July 4th and “The Immeasurable Distance Between Us”.