Today is July 4th, the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In it, the colonies that would become the United States of America laid out why they felt impelled to rebel against Great Britain and form their own nation. According to that document, the rebellion, and thus the basis for the existence of the United States, rests foremost upon the recognition that there are self-evident truths about human existence: rights to life, liberty, and happiness that no human authority can or should deny.
America was founded on principles to which it has always had difficulty living up.
On this Fourth of July, I know a lot of people who have celebration plans. I know others who can’t bring themselves to celebrate, in light of certain humanitarian crises created by our own government with no remorse and no intention of mitigating anything any time soon. And I know of some who are all gung ho for a display of military might in Washington, DC because why shouldn’t there be?
This July 4th, as we reflect on who we are and who we want to be as Americans, I decided to share the story of my father’s immigrant family. There’s not much to tell. And that’s the point, really.
On July 4th, we celebrate the document drafted by immigrants to these shores and their children which enumerated their reasons for breaking the law and rebelling against their country. As we do so, immigration stances and policies put forth the by the White House stand under scrutiny. We should be taking a hard look at them. We should be trying to get some perspective.
You may have heard of this already. I am spreading the story not to shame, but to edify.
Every July 4th for the last 29 years, an NPR program reads out the full text of the Declaration of Independence. (We all remember this is why we celebrate July 4th, I hope.)
Some thoughts to share on July 4, 2017.
It’s the Fourth of July, Independence Day. It commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.