I understand and respect those that don’t celebrate the 4th of July. I am aware that on July 4, 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was written, I, not my race, not my sex, not my economic class, were the intended beneficiaries.
However, for me, July 4, 1776, was the beginning of an amazing idea. A country, where people had rights bestowed on them from the Creator. It was an ambitious idea, The United States of America. The idea for this country was created and written by highly flawed, intelligent, evil, genius, brave, caring, liberating, enslaving, complex, imperfect White men.
Yet, there is no mistaking the power of this idea, a United States of America, a country that wrote the great words in its founding decree, “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.”
The United States of America is MY country, regardless of the thoughts and beliefs of its Founders. The United States of America is my home, and I love her. I love the United States of America and I will continue to fight for EVERY American to have “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the other Founders are highlighted every July 4th. But on July 4, 1776, my ancestors were there too. They were enslaved, treated in horrible ways, but this was their land. Their home too. Women were in the United States of America on July 4, 1776, and they were considered little more than property. Yet this was their land and their home too. There were also a large contingency of non-rich people, indentured servants, poor whites, millions of Native American Indians, and they aren’t work and contributions aren’t celebrated either. Yet, those non-rich, working, non property owning people, were also residing in the United States of America. This is their country and their home.
Regardless of the imperfections of the nations Founders, the imperfections and short-comings of the ability of United States of America to live up to its ideals; America is still my home. It is the home of my ancestors, whose sweat, blood, and tears, help build this nation. The United States of America is a part of me, imperfections and all, and I will always celebrate the birthday of my wonderful, imperfect, country. America, and all the rights, privileges, and benefits, thereof, belong to me, as much as they belonged to the Founders of this country and any other citizen. I will always be fighting and praying for our nation to live up to its lofty idealism and goals.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Happy birthday, America. This weekend we celebrate, and then Monday we get back to work. There is TONS to do.