There were 13 colonies in America in 1776... of the 13, 12 voted with the Declaration of Independence. It was a radical, and defiant document... against the King of England who oversaw all of colonial America. It was a document that was signed by our founders, like John Hancock, whose signature was "most flamboyant", and Ben Franklin, who by then was age 70: it was Franklin who famously said: “We must all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” It is that document, this defiance as American's that we celebrate.
This document also most clearly establishes the intentions and concerns that led to who we are as Americans today, and our "fathers" original goal. Principal among them is this irrefutable truth:
"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."
When we talk about what is right or wrong, when we bicker among ourselves, point fingers at those who don't "think or act" like we do, we need to celebrate the fact that there are differences among us, as was the original belief among our forefathers, that led to the goal of this country, and learn to be tolerant of our differences, to work together.
From the following link, you can see Abraham Lincoln also believed, the key to understanding the US Constitution lay in using the Declaration of Independence as the source for interpretation and understanding of the US Constitution.
Recent Supreme Court matters have often raised the question of how bound justices are to absolute "judgement of law based on law, and many senators believe justices to be mear instruments to make judgments. I strongly disagree. Supreme Court Judges, as all judges, must consider in both concretely and objectively, the truth. To do this based upon the key - our Declaration... the reason we are Americans today..
"The passage: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident...' has often been used to promote the rights of marginalized groups, and (has) came to represent for many people a moral standard for which the United States should strive. This view was greatly influenced by Abraham Lincoln, who considered the Declaration to be the foundation of his political philosophy, and promoted the idea that the Declaration is a statement of principles through which the United States Constitution should be interpreted."
What have we accomplished in "Pursuit of Happiness"? Do we care about others as we do ourselves? Have we "voted" in a way that acknowledges the rights of others, though their pursuits are sound, though maybe not what we pursue.
Enabling an individual, which includes yourself, to be able to be happy, is a challenge when considering how strongly we feel about our own principles. How willing are we to accept those different from ourselves? The problem with the "civil rights " movement was it established laws and regulations, it failed to provide basic human rights... to make clear, there is no such thing as racism... it failed to emphasize that point.
Benjamin Franklin wasn't kidding about being strung up and hung! They were taking a very real risk! You didn't defy the King of England back then, and not hang by a rope until dead.
The American Revolution succeeded... not that everyone was in favor of it. Of course not. And that continues until today... it's what makes our country unique. Our ability to compromise, reason, accept, listen to, understand, and forgive... and become advocates and activists. It is the American Way.
What makes you happy?
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!