Fourth of July Another Voice


July 4, 2018

Yes I am back. A couple weeks ago, while traveling in Eastern Europe, I decided to resume my Another Voice reflections this summer on the Fourth of July.

No fireworks. Just a few observations.

In an uniquely historic way, the July 4th 1776 Declaration of Independence was truly and is truly another voice in the struggle for human rights and respecting everyone’s human dignity.

The Declaration was a courageous critique of authoritarian and abusive political power. Jefferson’s words, endorsed by representatives of the original colonies, were solidly anchored in REALITY, REASON, and the self-evident TRUTH that that all are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

A clear voice for humanity. A clear voice for compassion and collaboration, rather than denigration and deception. A clear voice for immigrant respect and fellowship, rather than family separation and incarceration. Good material for a socio-political examination of conscience.

There were a lot of immigrants in those first thirteen states: they were British, Dutch, French, German, and Irish. (Not to forget of course Native Americans and African slaves!) They were Protestant and Catholic, as well as Jewish and Muslim. Xenophobia and bigotry are un-American. The authentic American voice proclaims mutual understanding and support for American multiculturalism and a great abundance of ethnic and racial variety: the pluribus of e pluribus unum.

We are not perfect but capable of doing better and being better. Acknowledging popular and political shortcomings and constructive change are key elements as well in our U.S. American experience: we can and have humbly acknowledged our own wrongdoing. We try to repair and move ahead…..

Yes I am proud to be an American and celebrate that with my U.S. friends this Fourth of July.

And I close with an adaptation of a statement painted on a coat:

“I do care. Don’t U?”

Jack

Historical Theologian

—————————-

Power over people is not a virtue; and history shows again and again that in religion and in civil society absolute power corrupts absolutely.

9 thoughts on “Fourth of July Another Voice

  1. I truly want to know what your response would be to Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States.

    • I have some critical issues about his use of sources and a lack of balance….but I generally agree with what he wrote in a letter to the New York Times a few years ago: “I want young people to understand that ours is a beautiful country, but it has been taken over by men who have no respect for human rights or constitutional liberties. Our people are basically decent and caring, and our highest ideals are expressed in the Declaration of Independence, which says that all of us have an equal right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The history of our country, I point out in my book, is a striving, against corporate robber barons and war makers, to make those ideals a reality — and all of us, of whatever age, can find immense satisfaction in becoming part of that.”

  2. So glad you’re back! Another thoughtful and powerful message, Jack. I’m trying hard to remain optimistic.

    • Thanks Betty. A young professor friend who teaches international relations and is a journalist as well said he is now convinced the US a lost cause for the next few years….

  3. litany of the sinnersHI, JACK.  GREETINGS FROM YOUR FRIENDS IN SAGINAW.Harry Lenhart and Harry Sikorski

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