My dearest nephews and nieces, let me wish you a very happy and joyous 242nd Birthday this 4th of July! Many of you may think that America is in deep trouble. Perhaps you perceive it divided. The colonies were not initially united either. There were revolts, strife, disagreements, and mayhem.
Today, some see danger looming on the horizon. You may even go so far as to say that the country is beyond repair. You might be right but think back.
Truly, the storm clouds we see today are nothing compared to those that formed as America was in the throes of conception more than 242 years ago. I know it must seem like many years, but they have indeed flown by quickly. So much has been accomplished and so much has been endured. But look at you, in this very brief span of years you are the most admired, prosperous, and influential nation in history!
Please indulge me as I share my secret birthday wish with you. I know, I know, it’s supposed to be kept a secret, or it will not come true. But, perhaps on this occasion, we can make an exception. After all, we are one nation, under God. As a people, we are one. Let me share with you some thoughts; then maybe the secret will make more sense to you.
The colonists of the 1700s were under the thumb of a capricious British king and a willful foreign government. The colonists had no rights as rights were a mere concept, a pipe-dream. When our Founding Fathers set about to free themselves from the yoke of a dictator, their lives were in immediate danger.
In fact, most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence met with calamity and great loss or, even on occasion, death. Many supported the king. Starvation and disease ravaged much of the populace during the Revolutionary War. Loyalists and revolutionaries were often literally at each other’s throats.
The Bill of Rights we have today, which we so jealously guard and so vehemently dispute, did not exist. Following the war, great men toiled to create that document. The crafting met with contention and controversy. It was not a pretty picture. Growing pains are just that, painful.
Our Civil War could have easily destroyed our country. Still, our fellow citizens embraced the cause of abolishing slavery and continued the revolution. They gave their lives to acquire freedom for all.
Women’s Suffrage, Universal Suffrage, Civil Rights, Gay Rights, and more have met with virulent disagreement, violence, and untold misery. Yet, America has continued to move forward in a positive direction seeking equality for all.
Before I share my secret wish, let’s consider some truths:
- Everyone has the right to an opinion.
- We all come from varied backgrounds and beliefs, so our understanding of truth, fairness, and justice will not necessarily coincide with our neighbor’s understanding of same.
- As a people, we should strive to respect and honor the beliefs and opinions of our family and our fellow citizens.
We are still a young nation. Rome lasted a thousand years. Great Britain’s monarchy stretches back over a thousand years. We as an emerging and growing nation have a long and promising future ahead of us, that is, if we maintain the course our forefathers set for us.
My secret wish is that you will listen to one another. That you will carefully consider each other’s position. This will require you to reach out and dig deep to fully understand how and why your American family members feel the way they do. Treat all opinions with respect and each other with compassion.
Express your thoughts loud and clear. You can jump up and down about concepts and beliefs, just make sure not to do it on your fellow citizens. Scream and holler all you want, but show respect for your fellow citizens as individuals with valid opinions.
My dear nieces and nephews, and my steadfast country. I love you.
I trust you.
I respect you.
I have confidence in you.
Embody and enable the evolution of our country. Grow America’s love and show respect for those inalienable rights, Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness!
God bless America and God bless you, my beloved citizens and family.
Will all my love and faith in you,
P.S. If you agree with what I said, or even perhaps disagree, share my birthday wish this 4th of July. Debate about it if you like, but make sure you show respect when you do!