Once More, July 4th Is Reason To Cheer
Once again we celebrate the Fourth of July, this time marking the 236th anniversary of the founding of our nation. With fireworks, parades, concerts, picnics and in other many and varied ways, we will honor the day the men we call the Founding Fathers gathered to pledge their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to create a new form of government known as representational democracy—a government in which men were free to make their own laws, irrespective of the whims and wishes of kings, princes, clergy, nobility or any local landlord who had a little power to wield over his neighbors.
The government laid out in the Declaration of Independence was required to undergo some changes before the Constitution of the United States was developed and ratified on Sept. 17, 1787. Being a living document that has grown and developed over the 225 years of its existence, the Constitution has not remained static, either. It, too has seen a changing, growing nation as expressed in its Amendments.
One thing has remained constant in more than two centuries of change: this nation is governed by the will of its people, as expressed through their elected representatives. Being human, sometimes the will of the people has been at odds with what are truly the people’s best interests. We cannot always know what is exactly the right course to take. However, we are fortunate in our awareness that our Constitution and courts, by statute and precedent, allow us to take a step back, evaluate where it is that we have come from, what was the error we made and how, hopefully, we can correct it. This, too is part of the wisdom and farsightedness bequeathed to us by the framers of the Constitution.
On this Fourth of July 2012, let us pause in our celebrations, our fireworks, our picnics and parties, to remember why it is we celebrate. Let us hail the men of 1776 and their successors of all genders who have led, and continue to lead us in the paths of becoming a more perfect people deserving of the legacy that has been bequeathed us—that of becoming truly Americans.
Happy July 4th to us all.