July 4, 1776 to July 4, 2020

A painting of the Second Continental Congress voting on the United States Declaration of Independence, by Robert Edge Pine, 1788

One of my favorite musicals is the play 1776. Every time I have seen it, I am emotionally moved and proud to be a citizen of the United States of America.

Would that the history of our country could be put to lively, jaunty music and we could all live happily ever after. But that would not be historically accurate. There were squabbles and strong divisions as the early leaders of our country came together to make the first most significant decision as a country of its own and that was to declare our independence from England.

Despite the cultural and geographical divisions of our first 13 states even at the beginning of our country’s founding, they all agreed on the decision to declare independence from England.

244 years later we fail to appreciate the unfathomable risk that the early leaders of our country embarked upon. Despite strong differences they agreed on the bigger issue, declaring freedom from England.

The most drastic loss as the Declaration of Independence was written and signed was that the Founding Fathers did not abolish slavery from the very beginning of our country, leaving a gaping hole in our 244 years as a country.

It took another 89 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, with the leadership of President Abraham Lincoln, for Congress to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery. The devastation of those 89 years for Black people in our country is incomprehensible and for their progeny as well.

Fast forward to July 4, 2020. Our National Congress meets, our State Legislatures meet, but most importantly our citizens and hope-to-be citizens of all races and cultures gather to call for racial equality, gender equality and a call for unity and civility despite our differences. Just because we belong to different political parties does not mean we cannot respect one another. The future of our country depends on our being brutally honest with ourselves and one another. Much of the legislation currently being tossed around both at the State level and the National level is a pure power-grab and “back at you.” That’s so “junior-high.” Let’s take a big gulp of adultness and put our country’s bi-partisan puzzle pieces back together for the well-being of every one of us.

“It’s important to make sure that we’re talking to each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.” 

~ Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

P.S.: To all you DACA Dreamers out there while you are working in labs helping to find cures for COVID-19, teaching our autistic children, driving our metro busses, working in housekeeping or landscaping, whipping up creative dishes in our restaurants, paying taxes, working as nannies; Keep Dreaming. Your dreams are the fabric of our future.

Happy Fourth Everyone and Please Be Safe!


2 thoughts on “July 4, 1776 to July 4, 2020”

  1. It’s interesting that you led off with reference to the musical 1776. The Arts is another path to reconciliation and healing. I am most excited about “Hamilton” opening tomorrow.


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