Happy Birthday

This year, the 4th of July feels aspirational to me.

I still believe that all people are created equal.

I still believe in e pluribus unum…out of many, one.

I still believe that one day we will judge a person not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I still believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of justice.

But this year, the colors feel muted. The music seems far off and slightly out of tune.

We seem to have forgotten, in Mother Theresa’s words, that “We belong to each other.”

In Dr. King’s words, that we can create a “Beloved Community” where all people thrive.

In Paul Wellstone’s words, that “We all do better when we all do better.”

I still believe that we can get there, but we’ve become distracted. We’ve forgotten the call to love one another.

It is quite possible to love America and lament the ways we are falling short of her promise at the same time. The same way I can embrace this life on the road, and sorely miss the company of my good friends back home.

Two competing ideas can be held in tension, and both remain true.

I still believe in the great promise of America and I am more convinced than ever that it is our job to prolong the experiment. Like all experiments, you keep tinkering with it until you get it right. Just about now, it is clear that things are not quite right.

I am firmly in Rev. Barber’s camp when he says, “We refuse to give up on the possibility of America.”

And it resonates when Adam Russell Taylor says, “We can create a more perfect union.’ 

We will have to do it together.

Happy Birthday America. May we keep moving forward. May we each do our part.

7 thoughts on “Happy Birthday

  1. So powerful, John, and so true. Thank you for musing on the real meaning of this birthday and holiday. Best to you!

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