Greetings to our friends to the north who recently enjoyed celebrating Canada Day.
Today, I want us to take time to think about what it is we’re really celebrating on our 4th of July. It’s more than picnics and fireworks. It’s the date when the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence!
You will recognize these words: 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.
Later Americans have interpreted “men” to mean women as well as people of all colors, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. In reality, that probably was not intended by our “forefathers.” Thank God the document is a living breathing document.
Americans haven’t always behaved in a way that lived up to the values expressed in our Declaration. The pictures coming from the southern borders of Texas should make us all cringe and resolve to do something about this desperate situation. When the stories first broke, before I heard any politician’s likening the separation of children from their parents as kidnapping, I thought “that’s kidnapping.”
How can our government take children from their parents with no plan to reunite them?
How can our government take children from their parents and face no consequences for their actions?
These are folks seeking legal asylum from life-threatening situations in their own countries. The over-crowding is inhumane and beneath us as America. We are breaking our own regulations by detaining them this way.
Would the same thing be happening if these parents were coming form one of the Scandinavian countries? I suspect not. These actions are a direct result of some Americans fear and hatred of people of color. Unfortunately, these emotions are not found only in the United States. Sadly, history is filled with times of persecutions of persons who are perceived as different for whatever reason the hater chooses: religion, skin color, country of origin, sexual orientation. The Holocaust is probably the worst example of this hatred.
Our Declaration of Independence claims that all are created equal under the law. If we really believe that, we should speak up every time we hear someone putting another down. We should say, “Stop. That’s not who we are in this country.” Now, that takes some courage, I know. Minimally, we need to walk away from people speaking hurtful things to others. But unless we say something, I don’t see the behaviors stopping. People have to be called out and made to understand that kind of speech/action is unacceptable. Maybe they are just repeating what they heard from their parents. Maybe they don’t know any better. But how does it ever stop if we don’t speak up?
Yes, we have freedom of speech in this country, but the courts have said that doesn’t include the right to yell, “Fire” in a crowded theater. IMHO, hate speech falls into that category.
Maybe, just saying, “You know that kind of language makes me uncomfortable; would you want someone to speak of you that way?” would be enough. Maybe it wouldn’t, and they’d just tell us to buzz off if we didn’t like it. But maybe if enough folks stood up over time, they’d get the message. In America, a country of immigrants, all are welcome. All have an opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of others.
Statue of Liberty 1871-1886 New York, New York, USA
One way we speak up, folks, is by voting. People died so we’d have the right to vote. Let’s not let their deaths be in vain, because we didn’t value this gift and responsibility.
Recently, I watched a show on CNN called “The State of Hate, The Explosion of White Supremacy.” It’s a must see in our current environment.
I know this was a heavy duty post, but just as others have kept our democracy alive for us, I believe we have a responsibility to do our best to keep it alive for future generations. To ask the tough questions. Is this who we are as America? If not, what do we do about it.
So, Happy 4th of July. I hope you have a wonderful day. Did you, perhaps see the CNN show? Are you eating hot dogs and hamburgers? Watching fireworks? Love to hear from you.