OPINION: “We hold these truths to be self-evident …”

July 3, 2024 By Glenn Mangurian

One of the most recognized set of words can be found in the Declaration of Independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson and endorsed by our Founding Fathers 248 years ago.

“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.”

This one sentence changed the world. We are still discovering the meaning and implications of those words. The values of equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness endure as a cornerstone of our society – a society that continues as a work in progress. That sentence has served as a beacon of light for our ancestors who were drawn from a distant land to an uncertain future but with the hope for a better life. Today, like our ancestors, people from other nations are drawn to our country often fleeing violence but inspired by the possibilities illuminated by that passage.

In recent years our country has become more divided as some believe that the tenants of our democracy need to change while others believe they need to be reaffirmed Democracy can be messy – very messy. We deeply value our freedoms including our freedom of thought and freedom to disagree with those who hold different beliefs. In spite of our differences recent polls continue to indicate that a majority of Americans believe that the U.S. is one of the greatest countries in the world.

So as we enjoy our cookouts and freedoms this week, let’s reflect on the meaning of the words of the Declaration and remind ourselves of the moral responsibilities we and our elected leaders have as stewards of the “self-evident truths”. Our generosity and compassion for one another contribute to our greatness. That is something worth celebrating.

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