I wanted to take a moment to share some thoughts I wrote down a few years ago in terms of our country and our status as free men and women. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately on our country, our laws, political system and especially our rights. These are things I gave little consideration to when I was a young man. As I grow older I have grown more awake to just how important they are. While our great nation is far from perfect, while we may never achieve every American ideal to its maximum potential, I do feel so very lucky and proud to be an American and born into those ideals that were imprinted on us by our fore fathers.
Men and women of many cultures and races sacrificed and died so we all may pursue happiness in the way we see fit. They did this out of love of our country and what it stands for. I want to remind everyone that like a good marriage, because we have had it good for so long, that its easy to take those rights for granted. Its easy to say they are antiquated and let them slip away piece by piece. Sometimes they feel transparent and its not clear why they are even there. Sadly, many Americans can not even recite even the first 5 rights back to you if asked! But that doesn’t mean they do not exist. Our Constitution has been so effective that we don’t even realize we exercise these freedoms on a daily basis or realize how important they are to preserving our freedoms for our future generations. Some even feel they are in the way of our national progress or own personal security.
However I know nothing could be further from the truth. When I think about what I value in my life, there is so much I could do without but I cannot think of anything more valuable than those very exclusive American rights. I can imagine a world without the right to speak my mind about the politicians I like or don’t like. I can imagine the police having the ability to search my home and my documents anytime they feel like it without my knowledge, permission or probable cause. I can imagine troops forcibly quartered in my home to intimidate me and my neighbors. I can imagine the horrible thought of the press too scared of persecution to print articles on corruption or abuses of power. I can imagine a country where there is no balance of powers, where the government doesn’t fear its people as much as the people fear their government. What a terrible place this would be. Yet there are many countries around the world where this is the case.
Then I think about how important of a gift these rights and freedoms are to my children. No car, cell phone or iPad could ever compare. It is our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, those simple yet powerful words embedded in those documents that has made our great nation so special for so long. It has differentiated us from every other nation in the history of the world and ignited the fiery idea of freedom to every corner of the globe. For those of you who need proof, it is right in front of your eyes. People have flocked to our country since its founding, in record breaking numbers, so they can give those very same gifts we take for granted to their children.
As I celebrate this 4th of July, I will accept my responsibility as an American. I will make a promise to all those Americans before me who protected and preserved these rights even when others could not see their value. I too promise to use my influence, words and mind protect and preserve those rights for all of America’s children. I too promise to stand up for what is good and right. I promise to shine light on injustice, corruption and to protect those who are weak from tyranny.
With that, I invite every single one of you to join me in that pledge. I don’t care if you are black, white, brown or purple. It doesn’t matter to me if you are Muslim or Christian. Man or woman. It also makes no difference to me if you are gay, bi or straight. In my book ALL lives matter and we ALL deserve the rights granted on those now yellowed and curled pages. If you believe in a nation of free people and not a nation of slaves, then we are on the same team. I refuse to see race, sex or preference as excuses to divide us for political favor. I belong to NO political party for I am independent, free, and I only see Americans. Patrick Henry wisely told us many years ago, "United we stand, divided we fall”. I reject all efforts to divide us on these superficial terms.
We are still THE beacon of hope and light around the world and I intend to keep it that way. Happy Independence Day America. I love you.