There are those who would separate us based on our identities. This one is a man, and that one is a woman. This one is black, and that one is white. This is one is an immigrant, that one was born here. This is one is gay, and that one is straight. This one is rich, and that one is poor. This is one is Christian, and that one is Jewish. This one is a Republican, that one is a Democrat.
Even though there are those who would point to our many differences for their personal or political gain, our individual identities do not separate us from our collective identity: American.
America is a principle, an ideal. That ideal, written on parchment 241 years ago, is still a beacon of hope for much of the world, and it is a promise: “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 execution of this principle has been messy. Much of the time, it has been more honored in the breach than the observance. Humans, as fallible and frail as we sometimes are, have lacked the courage to live up to this ideal, as did the men who drafted the document. At other times, we’ve risen up to fight tyranny in its many forms. All in all, the arrow of progress is pointing largely in the right direction, even if there is still much work to do.
We have more in common than we do differences, and what we have in common binds us together—even when some would have you believe otherwise.
When you watch the fireworks tonight and celebrate with your family and friends, know that those who don’t look like you, that don’t believe what you believe, that don’t share your skin color, your politics, or your religion, are all celebrating the same ideal, that great and common bond that holds us together, even when we disagree.
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