Saturday, July 4, 2020

On This Fourth of July

The words of the Founders, from the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security...."

Our country began with a lie--pretending to subscribe to the equality of all. But within the document is a prescription for change that still rings true.

Did the men, some slaveholders, who wrote this not understand that the people they enslaved were equally worthy of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, that the Native Americans, whose land was and continued to be stolen, were created equal? Or that even women were created equal?

Apparently not. It's taken a long time to address these wrongs and the work is far from complete.

As our country continues to reckon with its past, while caught in the throes of a pandemic that is changing so much that was once normal, might not there be an opportunity for a new beginning, an oportunity to throw off  the long established forms and begin to build an America that recognizes and rejects the lies of the past rather than glorifying them ? A country in which equal opportunity is a reality?  

We can do it without armed revolt. 

We can examine our long held beliefs. Are they based on anything more substantial than grade school pageants and textbooks written by the winners? (Or, in the South, alas, by the losers?) We can vote. We can advocate for change. And we can hold those elected to the promise of a better America.

May July 4, 2021 find our country in a better place, moving forward with true equality for all.


Anvilcloud said...

Thoughts for July 4.
Have a good day and a good future.

Vicki Lane said...

Canada seems so much closer to the American Dream these days.

Barbara Rogers said...

Happy Fourth to you all! The people of our country have a big job ahead of them.

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

Well said, Vickie. May it be so!

Vicki Lane said...

Thanks, Jim. It really feels like we're on the cusp of something--and we could lurch forward...or backward.