A message on this July Fourth
The Journey to a More Perfect Union
A few years ago, my wife and I were hosting a dinner party at our home in Centerport. We were talking about the Fourth of July holiday. There were ten people around the table of various backgrounds. Two of the guests were black men of considerable accomplishments, Waldo and Steve.
I posed this question to the group. In the year 1776 not all of the colonists were for revolution. Some of us would probably be loyalists, so who among us think they would be revolutionaries, and who among us think that they would be loyalists? With no hesitation Waldo shot back, “Steve and I would be serving tea.”
While that quick witted remark got a big laugh, it reminded me of where we were and what we have become. It also reminded me of how far we must still travel. The road to making “a more perfect union” is a long and winding one. We are still on that magnificent journey, and as we have made progress, at no time should we waste any energy on patting ourselves on the back.
As I contemplate the meaning of our nation and view the flag on the fourth of July, or any day for that matter, I realize that beautiful symbol of freedom and democracy has flown over this country when women could not vote, when our black brothers and sisters were enslaved, and when we deprived the native peoples of this continent of their land. We can look back at our history and be sorry for the wrongs, but at the same time be proud of our forward march. A forward march to a more just society made possible by the written documents that support the principles we fight for every day.
Our founding fathers had an intellect that was superior to the norms of their times. I believe they were under no illusions that they had delivered a true democracy, but what they gave us was a roadmap that works toward that goal. We’re not perfect. We still have work to do. I invite all my fellow Americans to put their shoulders to the wheel that moves us forward.
Many years ago Irving Berlin wrote “God Bless America” In that song was the phrase “stand beside her and guide her through the night with the light from above……..” Asking for blessings now is appropriate. I say Amen!
At the same time, let’s enjoy the celebration. Happy Fourth!