In the United States, July fourth is celebrated as Independence Day, in recognition of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 by the Continental Congress.
This document, written for the most part by Thomas Jefferson, is still considered one of the pillars of our government. It famously declares “certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is heartbreaking that, at this time, our government is ignoring the existence of those universal human rights, most noticeably among immigrants and asylum seekers. In society, we see this same problem expressed through discrimination or hatred against those of a different religion, race, ethnicity, or gender expression. We see it with employers who don’t pay living wages to their workers.
It’s discouraging to see my country, which I love, not living up to its highest ideals.
I don’t feel like fireworks or parades or speeches.
We are celebrating quietly at home with chicken spiedies, baked beans, corn on the cob, and fresh-baked strawberry rhubarb pie. Paco is joining us for dinner, so we will have our four generations together, from my World War II veteran father to my dual-citizen of the US and UK granddaughter.
Daughter E is wearing a shirt which says “EQUALLITY” with the ALL in sparkly colors.
That’s what I want my country to concentrate on today.
PS: I really appreciated this short reflection on civil rights and and obligations by Sister Simone Campbell.