Today we celebrate our Independence Day, the day that we came together as a country and declared that all men are created equal. The Declaration of Independence is one of the great documents in history and embodies the ideals that this country was founded upon. It is a shame that those ideals are now under attack.
Growing up, we were all told that in America, a person would be successful if they work hard and follow the rules. We were taught that America was a country where success was based on merit and not nepotism. It is troubling to think that this ideal is now in doubt.
America was built on the idea that every person has the opportunity to succeed. That is no longer the case. We are robbing our children of a proper education that cripples their ability to compete in the global economy. We are limiting the ability of immigrants to come here in search of a better life. We are punishing children for the mistakes of the parents. We are fighting over whether or not Americans have a right to basic healthcare.
When did America become so vindictive? Is it a product of the current political atmosphere or does it drive the political animosity? I don’t know but it exists nonetheless.
I believe that every person in this country, regardless of race, gender, or nationality, deserves an opportunity to succeed. They have a right to take a swing. They might choose not to or they might miss, but they have a right to the opportunity.
I believe that if we are to be an example to the rest of the world we have to guarantee a certain standard of living to all our people. This does not mean that everyone deserves to have a mansion and a lake house but everyone has a right to proper healthcare, a good education for their children, a roof over their head, and food on the table. How can we be an example to the world if our people are starving, our elderly thrown onto the streets, and our children uneducated?
We must protect the most vulnerable among us. We must be compassionate and accept that with great success comes great responsibility. This means that some people will have to pay more than others. How can anyone look at a family that is barely able to put food on the table and tell them they should pay as much as the multimillionaire? Some might call this class warfare but it isn’t; it is basic humanity.
Being American means that you work tirelessly to correct the wrongs in this world. Americans don’t turn a blind eye on those in need.
When you sit down to eat your BBQ tonight, remember that being an American comes with certain expectations and obligations. We can never create a utopia, but that should not stop us from aspiring to it.