(Reposted from July 4, 2014–despite that this was 9 years ago, this post speaks poignantly to where we are currently)
Today, in the United States, we celebrate the birth of our nation. The Declaration of Independence, drafted, signed, and ratified in July of 1776, was – at that time – the culmination of a departure from the norm of monarch rule that had begun more than a hundred years earlier when the puritans came to the New World in order to escape religious persecution. As the nation grew, America’s Founding Fathers saw that the only way to prevent religious persecution was to preserve religious freedom. For all, regardless of one’s chosen beliefs. In order to do so, they realized they would need to start from the ground up, and craft a system of government built on the foundational principles of freedom and liberty.
It would be twelve years, and then some, before that government was effectively assembled. The United States Constitution was ratified in June of 1788, and the Bill of Rights followed in December of 1791.
It was imperative to the Founders that the new government be created in such a way that the people never again fall subject to the rule of a monarch, recognizing the sovereignty of the individual as inviolate. Each of us has the right to live by our own choices, as long as those do not infringe on the rights of another. It is important to remember that this was one of the core principles on which this nation was founded. Sadly, it took almost two hundred years for black Americans to achieve recognition of their personal sovereignty, and there are groups of people in this country still fighting for it to be recognized.
The recent Supreme Court rulings have disappointed (if not devastated) many, as they seem to be a departure from the principles on which the nation was founded. Many see the elevation of the rights of a corporation over the rights of an individual to be in direct violation of the intent of the fundamental precepts enumerated in the Constitution. It is easy to become discouraged by the path down which this is taking us, but we must remain united in our dedication to the principles of equality and freedom.
As we observe this Independence Day, may we remember what it is we truly are celebrating: freedom, liberty, justice; applied equally to each individual citizen. May we work toward achieving, preserving, and recovering the dedication to those principles in our nation as a whole, and living those values everywhere we go. May there come a day when individual rights are no longer hard-fought and hard-won, but enjoyed and accepted universally.
~ Christiana McQuain