Many of us feel that our nation is going through a slump. And anyone who’s played sports knows that the way out of a slump is first to return to the fundamentals and then re-build from there. So, what are our national fundamentals? The very document that we celebrate this weekend, The Declaration of Independence, tells us much about them.
Here’s a partial list...
1) A widespread and uniquely American hope about the potential for a better future and about our country’s ability to build that future through good people’s common commitment, sacrifice and plain hard work. For many, this hope is anchored — as it was in the Declaration — in a faith about a benevolent, greater power that calls us to be our better selves and to treat others the way we want to be treated. Having some kind of faith is a key ingredient in hope.
2) A duty to proclaim for all posterity what’s not right with the world. That’s what fills the majority of the Declaration; it’s a list of grievances against the King and his Government, and a strong statement that those grievances are crimes against humanity and therefore must come to an end. It’s this list that descends from the Declaration’s most impactful words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [people] 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.” From its founding, our country has been willing to confront violations of those unalienable rights in the world as it is, and then take action to make that world better, more humane, more just. We’ve set ourselves to that work again in earnest now.
3) Strong leadership that speaks and acts to bring Americans together in common purpose. It’s important to consider today that the 1776 grievance list, the self-evident truths and the resulting action plan were not unanimously supported. There were Royalists and racists throughout the colonies. But July 4th,1776 happened anyway and the world was forever changed for the better.
The Founders did not expect unanimity. Neither did Lincoln, Grant or Roosevelt. They had courage. They acted, thoughtfully and with due deliberation for the consequences of their actions. We are their heirs who must continue the pursuit of a more perfect union.
Here’s a link to the full wording of the Declaration of Independence.
Enjoy our great Fourth of July weekend!
Paul Grangaard, Chairman & CEO