In 1776, the founders of what was to become the United States of America set us upon the path of democracy. With the Declaration of Independence, our newborn country freed itself from tyranny and the dogmatic way in which its people were governed and set forth the thought of a new ideal. An ideal where “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…” In the many years that have passed since Thomas Jefferson penned these words, we have realized many things in the United States. As recent events have shown us, we are still fighting to realize that all are created equal.
Our founders could not have foreseen what the future may hold beyond their years. Yes, they had an idea of what worked for the times and what could possibly work for the future. But they could not have foreseen the unknown road that lay before the country, just as we cannot foresee the future ourselves. However, they created a vision. A vision called democracy. Whether this was the realized vision or not, this is what has come to pass – an ideal of government of the people, by the people, for the people. Not just one people – rather, all of us.
Here’s the thing about an ideal – a vision. It is not static. Rather, it is always evolving – moving like the intricate parts of a clock. Some will argue that our great experiment set forth in 1776 has failed. Certainly, it has not held true in the eyes of every person who called themselves an American. We do have oppression and discrimination in this country – we do have evils that seek to snuff out the light of hope and freedom. Now, here’s the thing. An ideal does not accomplish itself – it is not self-sustaining. Rather, it must be maintained. It must be fought for. It must be nurtured. Yes, we may not have reached the ideals that our founders set forth – perhaps unknowingly. But we do have the power to change that. We have the freedom to allow ourselves to reach that higher level. That is part of the vision that is America. That small sliver of hope gives us something to hold on to. An ideal is something to aspire to and become worthy of.
There is a vision that is United States of America. We are still on the road to realizing that full potential and that full vision that was presented in a document in July of 1776. America, we are still a dream worth fighting for – for all. Happy 4th of July and Independence Day.