July 4th. Thoughts turn to country and patriotism. Flags wave and for a brief moment we share a sense of solidarity, taking time to acknowledge our greatness and thanking God for our prosperity. Speeches are spoken, anthems are sung. We ask God to continue to bless us. America, that shining city on a hill. The beacon of hope to the world.

Others are not proud of some of the acts our country and government have perpetrated and allowed. Pointing to our record on civil rights, and the marginalization of whole groups of people, among other atrocities, they expound our country’s guilt.

Carl Jung, a psychologist from the turn of the century, built many of his theories around sets of dualistic principles. Yin-yang if you will. He believed that it was important to embrace both parts of a dichotomy if we were to move forward.

One of his dualistic concepts was the persona and the shadow. Briefly stated, the persona is what we present to the world, the part of us that looks desirable. We are happy to put our persona on display. The shadow is the part of us that we take pains not to show. It is the part of us we would rather not admit. Jung stated that we are both the persona and the shadow. To deny either one is to deny who you are.

So on this July 4th, I will acknowledge my immense gratitude to my country that has given me so much. I will accept that there are parts of our story, past and present that are detestable. I will acquiesce that there is no call for smugness, that our shining city on a hill has some dark and disturbing ghettos. I will embrace our goodness and our darkness. For to deny one is to negate the other. Persona and shadow.

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