Editorial: Happy Independence Day 

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 

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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.  

  • Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776 

Saturday marks 244 years since this nation declared its independence from Britain. Celebrations, for the most part, will be subdued due to the pandemic. Think backyard barbecues and socially distant beach trips instead of boisterous parades and starlight gatherings for fireworks. We’ll miss coming together in mutual celebration. We miss coming together in general. 

Some 122,000 Americans have lost their lives to COVID-19 and millions of others have sacrificed liberties to stop the spread. The pursuit of happiness takes a backseat to staying well and financially stable. Patriotism, at least the traditional trappings of it, has flagged in recent years. A 2019 Gallup poll found that 70 percent of U.S. adults reported they were proud to be Americans, but fewer than half (45 percentwere extremely proud. Maybe we’re just reluctant to commit to extremes. 

Nonetheless, we are privileged to be AmericansPrivileged to strive for something better when we’re not happy with the status quo. To participate in the democratic process. To protest injustice and speak our minds. To explore and redefine what it is to be American  and proud of it. As French diplomat Alexis de Tocqueville noted, “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.  

Happy Independence Day.  

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