Here are a few words from the document that we celebrate on this Independence Day: 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… “
Some 240 years after this was written, we live now in a world where instead of working together toward a common goal, we cast blame on those we don’t understand when things don’t go our way. It’s the gays, it’s the Muslims, it’s the Hispanics, it’s the women, it’s the African-Americans, it’s the baby boomers, it’s the Democrats, it’s the Republicans, it’s the Bush’s, it’s the Clintons, it’s the Christians, it’s the Pope, it’s the Communists. You get my drift. The list is endless.
The writers of the Declaration of Independence tell us that being an American is supposed to be about celebrating individual freedoms for everyone. That we are all equal, and we are all entitled to the unalienable rights (rights that cannot be taken away) of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Reread that last paragraph one more time before you read on.
But – It’s not always easy to be an American.
You may not like the person yelling in the street burning the American flag in protest, however, as an American it is their right to do just that.
You may not like the mosque in your neighborhood, but as an American the right to religious freedom is to be celebrated.
You may not like the people of color (any color) who just moved into your neighborhood, but as Americans we have the freedom to live where we choose.
You may not like folks protesting for women’s rights or gay rights or voicing their distaste for war; but as an American it is their right, and some believe their responsibility, to do so.
You may not like the Westboro Church protesting at funerals, but, it is their right to do just that. It is also your right to go and protest against them.
You may not like the politicians who are currently in office, just remember that your vote is your voice – use it.
You may not like the whole immigration thing, but remember; if you’re living in the continental United States; your family came onto this soil as an immigrant. Just think about that.
So, when you wave your American flag and watch those fireworks this weekend; ponder the fact that we are all Americans. Every race, every religion, every gender. Every man, woman and child.
All entitled to the same rights and freedoms. All deserving, all human beings endowed by their Creator…
It really is something to celebrate.