There have been a lot of July 4s since I started writing this “Lovely Tokens” column. I’ve focused my Independence Day musings on things as diverse as Henry David Thoreau, veggie hot dogs, and the Puritan work ethic.
Not being a fan of loud fireworks that terrify both animals and humans suffering from PTSD, I admit that July 4 is not my favorite celebration. However, one of my favorite country songs does happen to be “Independence Day,” written by Gretchen Peters and made famous by the stunning voice of Martina McBride.
The song won quite a few honors in the music field, sold 550, 000 copies in the U.S. alone, and went on to be named both one of CMT’s Greatest Songs of Country Music and one of its Greatest Videos. Rolling Stone magazine also ranked “Independence Day” as one the 100 best country songs.
Though the song is about an event that takes place on July 4, it is not about the United States winning independence from England. Rather, it is addresses the problem of domestic abuse and the actions a woman is forced to take in order to claim her freedom from a violence relationship.
After Peters donated some of the royalties from “Independence Day” to the social causes she supports, detractors chided her to “stick to music.” Her response was, “my sense of empathy for the vulnerable and my deep desire to bear witness for the underdog are at the core of my work as a songwriter … at no point did I sign an agreement to be silent about injustice, inequity and above all, hate.” That’s not a bad stand for us all to take.
This July 4, while I again ponder the wisdom of Thoreau and enjoy plant-based Big Franks and iced tea, I will also remember how eloquently Gretchen Peters exercised our freedom of speech and used her God-given talent to speak for the powerless living among us.
Wishing you all a safe and pleasant Independence Day.
Marian Carcache welcomes
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