To My Dear Friend on July 5th

Here is an email I have been writing to a friend. It expresses my thoughts on this day. 

Dear Friend: 

In our emails these past years we have discussed patriotism and what it means to love our country and to feel proud of it. In the days leading up to July 4th, and even now, my thoughts have been focused on what I am proud of about our country, because of a conversation we had. 

And yet, as Americans, we sometimes want to feel the pride of country without having to "do the work."  We avoid facing our failures. Part of the work of being a citizen of this country is assessment.  We must look at HOW we are living up to the aspirational ideals set out in the founding documents of our country.  I revisited the preamble to the Constitution this morning, which I learned so many years ago through school (AND a cartoon jingle on Saturday morning). 

There is so much packed into the preamble to the Constitution. Every article, and every amendment springs forth from it. 

How have we established justice?

Where are we failing to establish justice?

Where CAN we continue in establishing justice?

How have we ensured domestic tranquility?

Where are we failing in ensuring domestic tranquility?

How CAN we ensure domestic tranquility? 

How do we "provide for the common defense"?

Where are we failing to provide for the common defense?

How CAN we provide for the common defense?

How do we promote the general welfare? 

What does this really mean? 

How CAN we promote the general welfare? 

How have we secured the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity?

How have we failed to secure the blessings of liberty? 

How CAN we secure the blessings of liberty? 

I believe our founders meant for our country to be a continually evolving society.  We have had shining moments when as a country we lived up to the ideals set forth, and we have had times of abject failure. But thankfully, this is an ongoing work. We are not DONE with the work. We cannot flinch from assessing ourselves and facing the truths and realities revealed from that assessment. 

The very first paragraph of our constitution begins with the word WE. (Yes, I acknowledge this was written by imperfect men in a time when the ideals set forth were not available to all). But the document sets forth ideals and goals which are worth pursuing as a people. How will WE work together to flesh out these ideals? How will WE come together? 

No comments:

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden