An Independence Day editorial: Embrace our liberty, reject our politics of grievance

  • Celebrate July 4 as an opportunity to refresh and expand notions of unity and freedom in America.

    Celebrate July 4 as an opportunity to refresh and expand notions of unity and freedom in America. Associated Press File Photo

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Posted7/3/2021 2:00 PM

It seems as if we awake as a society on this Independence Day awash in grievance.

Everywhere we turn, someone is enraged, someone is complaining, someone is demonizing something.

 

That seems true across the political spectrum.

Even amid our emergence from the worst pandemic of our generation, even amid what appears to be a rejuvenating economic recovery, our national mood seems to be endless and debilitating grievance and finger pointing.

On this Independence Day, let's be better than that.

Let's today, at least, celebrate who we are and celebrate as well our aspirations for who we hope to become. We are a union out of many always on a quest to perfect itself.

Let's today, at least, remember that despite its flaws, the United States is a great and prosperous country, truly a beacon of liberty that provides hope and inspiration to millions.

There is no question that our democracy faces serious challenges in 2021 that must be confronted. As a nation, we must reject renewed political efforts to suppress voting rights. We must repudiate Republican Party acquiescence to Donald Trump's refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election.

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It is important for all Americans to recognize the threats to our freedom these things pose. We must be better than the cynicism of this politics.

At the same time, it is important to remember that our imperfections are not endemic. Imperfection is the nature of humanity.

It is America's vision, our relentless drive to expand our freedoms, that sets us apart. It's our ability to confront and solve intimidating problems that gives us strength.

It is not that America is innocent of atrocities or of bigotry. But we evolve. Our liberty is an ideal that has continued to progress from year to year. We are a beacon of hope because our hatreds become less and less a part of our future.

Sometimes we seem to attribute almost divine stature to our Founding Fathers. What did they intend 234 years ago with one Constitutional passage or another?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

They were visionary men, but that they were all men and that all were white, that many owned slaves and that most would restrict average citizens from the electoral process is evidence enough of their imperfections.

This is not necessarily so much to condemn them as to recognize both their shortsightedness and the constraints of their times.

Would we condemn ourselves for the unforgivable myopia our heirs most assuredly will find in us 234 years hence in 2255?

On this Independence Day, let us not be exhausted by grievance but energized by a commitment to move forward, ever onward.

"Freedom," Dwight Eisenhower said, "has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed,"

The republic evolves. The nation advances. Let's use today to refresh, to recommit ourselves to our obligations as citizens and yes, to celebrate.

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