Today is American independence day, the day we celebrate the thirteen colonies declaring they were no longer under British rule. Our founding fathers drafted our Declaration of Independence, the preamble of which is considered the foundation of the American society.
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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from theconsent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Over the course of the last few decades, I have witnessed the absolute perversion of these words. I have watched pundits and talking heads on 24 hour “news” channels insinuate a multitude of interpretations of these “certain unalienable rights”. I have seen our national standards of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness barely surviving corporate tyranny, while pursuing a neatly wrapped package marked as liberty and happiness, only to arrive at the end of our lives and realize that the box is empty. Our lives wasted chasing something unattainable and fighting our American brothers and sisters for a reward that doesn’t exist, all the while government and corporate interests telling us we obviously didn’t work hard enough if we didn’t amass enough wealth to enjoy our lives, celebrate our liberty and pursue our happiness.
We fight to allow our government to slash our children’s education, as well as our parents and grandparents retirement benefits; we squabble over who deserves health and who doesn’t. We shout obscenities to those who ask for equal rights and equal pay and spew hate and judgment at those whose personal decisions differ from our own. This is not the America our founders envisioned. Even more so, this is not the America I dreamt about as a child.
I dreamt of an America where we only judged people based upon character and actions, not sexual preference, religion, skin color, or birthplace. I imagined Americans reaching for the stars, hand in hand, knowing that all desires built on the goodness of the human heart were attainable.
I still have dreams for our great nation and I still believe that we are capable of so much more than we are. Call me an idealist, but I’m positive that if we can take a step back from the constant bombardment of interpreted information, quit worrying about who has what material items, who deserves what rights and who doesn’t, and greet our neighbors with open hearts as brothers and sisters in equality, we will realize that our happiness rests in uplifting our fellow Americans, our liberty comes only when we do for others what we do for ourselves, and our life is enriched by the foundations we build with love, acceptance, and encouragement.
Camicia Bennett: Founder of The Well Written Woman, Florida Native and cerebral creature, she loves her husband, yoga, red wine, potty humor, swearing superfluously and putting hats on her dog. If given her druthers she’d be surfing the web and writing randomness from someplace sunny and tropical whilst sipping her favorite vino. Oh wait, that’s exactly what she does.You can find her tweeting incessantly or randomly sharing her own brand of slightly pretentious propaganda at her personal blog.