The Colorado Springs Gazette: This 4th of July, let’s remember where we come from
Author: The Colorado Springs Gazette Editorial Board - July 5, 2018 - Updated: July 5, 2018
“We hold these truths to be self-evident.”
Thus reads one of the most important documents in our nation’s history — the Declaration of Independence. What follows is an affirmation that all men (and women) “are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that these rights are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Let us hope that this is one thing we can all agree on.
Just for a moment, let us also make a few assumptions. Let’s assume that we are still “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” that we are all striving to uphold the same freedoms while preserving the same security that our Founding Fathers sought to establish when they ceded from the British Empire.
With that in mind, let us also remember that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” Those words from then-presidential nominee Abraham Lincoln were part of a prophetic speech regarding slavery and the future of the American Union. On the matter of slavery, Lincoln said, “I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.” Thankfully for us, he was right. The Union was indeed solidified.
Today, though, there has been talk of a new “soft civil war” circulating among the headlines and amidst columnists from the left, right and center. With it comes talk of proverbial “two constitutions” — these being the “Founders’ Constitution” and the “Progressives’ Constitution.” Both are defined by different views and interpretations of the same physical document.
To the Founders, human nature is fixed, as are equality and those certain unalienable rights. Government exists to protect and secure those rights, but when unchecked, it is prone to exceed its limits and become oppressive.
To the progressives, human nature is constantly changing and evolving, and to ensure progress, government must be unchecked to enforce the latest social science and further the “evolution of society.”
This is said at the risk of further packing people into boxes, but it does reflect the current prevailing American atmosphere. The “right” and “left” are becoming more and more polarized — and have been for decades. The proverbial middle has all but disappeared, and the ideological distance between Democrat and Republican is increasing at an alarming rate.
This Fourth of July, amidst the barbecues, fireworks and usual patriotic displays, let’s take advantage of the day off to unplug and unwind and remind ourselves of where we come from — a Declaration of Independence that is also a declaration of unity and the creation of one nation that, so far, has proven itself indivisible. Let us remember that we are all of one creed, and that the term “American” is one that, similar to our innate humanity, unites across all schisms and faults.
Today, let’s rest in that common ground, planting roots there that can spur us towards preserving the “more perfect union” sought by our forefathers. May we all find a modicum of peace in this notably tumultuous era, and go forward with cooler heads and calmer sentiments.
Let us also remember that this moment of ours marks another time when we are testing whether our nation, “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal … or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”