As Americans from coast to coast nursed their July 4 hangovers, journalists abroad reported the deaths of three protesters who marched to support Egypt's recently booted leader, President Mohamed Morsi.
While an American struggling to wake up for work saddled with regrets over how many beers were drunk the night before was mentally and geographically located about as far away as possible from the unrest in Egypt, it's worth reflecting on the juxtaposition of the two situations and what it says.
Consider the following:
In America, we just celebrated our 237th year of independence from Britain. In Egypt, citizens are not yet free from the dictates of their own army leaders.
In America, we just celebrated the democratic election of 44 presidents. In Egypt, the first democratically elected president has just been ousted.
In America, we spent yesterday fearing rogue fireworks, alcohol poisoning, and raw meat. In Egypt, ordinary citizens feared for the future of their country.
In America, cities and towns filled with the haze of barbecues grilling meat. In Egypt, widespread food insecurity threatens the nation's well-being.
Finally, as Americans, we celebrated our right to express our own beliefs, be they liberal, conservative, politically correct, or offensive. At the same time, Egyptians had no reason to think that sharing an unpopular political belief wouldn't get them killed.
So no matter your gripes or concerns, worries or personal issues — or mere displeasure at the fact that you had to wake up and go work for just one more day before the weekend — count your lucky 50 stars that you live in a place with a long tradition of democratic discourse and governance.
It's what yesterday's celebration — and today's hangover — was all about.