It can be increasingly easy to wax poetic on the nostalgia on the state of the United States. How could we not? Yet, misguided nostalgia is how we found ourselves here in the first place. Having said that, today is the Fourth of July. An excellent opportunity to reflect on the multitude of freedoms we enjoy and the founding of a nation.
All too often, we find ourselves boxed into the the confines of a 140 character tweet. While excellent for branding purposes and communicating outright, Twitter is not particularly conducive to persuasive oratory. There are multitudes of individuals and organizations that are all fighting for our freedoms and civil liberties…but let this be my humble contribution to that dialogue. Happy Fourth of July!
This great nation has stood the testament of time, as evidenced by the celebration of our 241st birthday. Yet, it is of the utmost importance that we endeavor to preserve the freedoms that have come to characterize this country. For while we have a storied history or trials and tribulations that we have thus far survived, in the grandest view of history and the world as a whole, our 241-year existence is a mere drop in the bucket of time, and we are still young. We have built monolithic bureaucracies during this time…yet, we ourselves are not monolithic. The United States, would do well to remember the humility and sense of duty that our founding father George Washington endeavored to exemplify as our first President.
Duty. Service. Two words that best define the public servant. We would hope for integrity, yet, even we (and our forefathers) were but humans and fallible. Presently, there exists a cadre of politicians devoted to the service of themselves and their own party (Shocking! I know)…failing to remember that despite the power and privileges of elected office, it is the common citizenry that serves as the governor of the actions of their representatives. A public servant is…as the name suggests…one who serves.
Having said that, throughout our history and our present, we have neglected the rights of the minorities of this nation. Over the past decades, we have made great strides forward in ensuring that both men and women of all races and creeds are treated as equals in the eyes of the law. Yet, despite our great leaps forward, we continue to falter, and even threaten to regress into ignorance. For while the law still perceives the rights of both men and women of the United States to be equal, the actual practice of this equality continues to be a point of friction.
As we continue forward, and proceed into the 242nd Year of the United States, I would only encourage those that have a voice to speak out against the infringement of the civil liberties of all of our citizenry, continue to make your voice heard to your representatives (they work for you), and ensure that we continue to model the very ideas we claim to espouse.
To our leadership I only ask that while our electorate and their needs must be represented, we cannot afford to fall prey to mob politics. The tone of racial, religious, sexual issues has taken on a hateful tone. We have entrusted our elected officials with the stewardship of democracy in the United States and the preservation of our country’s identity as a a free, open, and diverse society. Such a national character cannot survive if demagogues and hate-mongers can incite one half of the country against itself.
John Adams wrote of his own anxiety over the recently independent American state. I find his commentary on the expenditure of “Toil and Blood and Treasure” to be particularly apt for a nation in a state of war for nearly 16 years. Yet, despite his trepidation, there still remained hope. It is that same hope is what I would like to impart on this beautiful Fourth of July, and convey the sentiment that despite our shortcomings, as a nation, we have grown and changed in ways that our founding fathers could never have even dreamed.
“You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not.—I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.—Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will triumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.
Happy Independence Day! Celebrate safely and responsibly.