Monday, July 4, 2016

Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness

It has been 240 since this document was written. How many Americans today know these words? If you were asked to recite the Declaration of Independence, could you? Most people are familiar with the first sentence of the second paragraph: "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." What about the rest?

The first paragraph is something we had to memorize when I was in school: "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

A document that refers to equality, and the act of standing up for ourselves back then, is something we should celebrate indeed. Where are we today though? As I have been writing here day after day, there is so no true equality here in the United States (and in so much of the world as well). How about life and the pursuit of happiness? With all the violence - the daily murders and assaults, it seems that so many are being denied their lives and basic happiness. With parades and fireworks and patriotic music today, and with picnics and boating, and baseball games, we need to not only celebrate this wonderful country, but work to see that equality becomes the actually way we live and that gun violence is something from the past. Think America is great? Think it can be greater?

I want to see the day when every person is treated with decency and with respect. We can make it happen. Let's stop the hate.

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