Published in the July 4 – July 17, 2018 issue of Morgan Hill Life
South Valley residents have expressed in recent days their concerns about the divided state of our union. They worry political and social stresses are threatening to tear apart our nation’s traditions of democracy and the values of our republic. Throughout its dramatic and often tumultuous history, America has frequently faced challenging times of seeming hopelessness. We are, no doubt, in such a trying time now.
In our rich past, America has shined as a city on the hill when its people have joined together and demonstrated the spirit of union. Our light of liberty has shined even more brightly when we have shown humble kindness to those not as fortunate as us from other lands. America is made truly great when its citizens refuse to crash the ship of state on the rocks of petty differences of opinion and instead sail forward to a bold, grand goal that strengthens our common bond of humanity.
During this year’s Independence Day celebrations, we encourage our readers to turn off the news’ nonstop drumbeat of distress and instead take time to enjoy our freedoms in the camaraderie of family and friends. We also encourage readers to pause from the backyard barbecue and ponder the question: What does it mean to be an American?
As our history demonstrates, that question is not always easy to answer. Being an American citizen means much more than a geographical advantage of birth or a certificate earned through naturalization. Being a citizen is a right that requires a responsibility. Being a citizen mandates us with the responsibility to be involved in the protection and improvement of the quality of life for all people.
That involvement can be achieved by taking time to study the character and qualifications of the men and women who campaign for office — and to cast a ballot with intelligent reflection on what is best for all. That involvement can also be achieved by the lifelong study of our nation’s history. This can serve as an exercise of the heart and mind that will enhance our leadership skills by learning the lessons of the men and women who strove to improve us as a people. The inspiration that might be gained from studying our story can ignite a passion in us to take steps to make our great nation even greater by simply deciding to do the right thing.
We encourage you to read what some have called “America’s birth certificate” — the Declaration of Independence. The 1,337 words in our nation’s founding document will take about five minutes to finish. They will be minutes of enlightenment. That statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress in the summer of 1776 to disconnect 13 colonies from Britain’s tyrannical rule has, through the centuries, not only shaped the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans but billions of people around the world as well.
What does it mean to be an American? As succinctly expressed in the words written 242 years ago by the brilliant minds at our nation’s birth, Americans hold certain truths to be self-evident: that all humans 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.
Let us protect our heritage during this trying time by holding these truths in our hearts. These truths will help us mightily to heal a now divided nation.
Latest posts by Morgan Hill Life Editorial (see all)
- Editorial – Americans will miss the integrity of Sen. John McCain - September 7, 2018
- Editorial – Wildfire season is becoming a year-round phenomenon - August 24, 2018
- Editorial – Lunch at Library program makes sure kids stay healthy - July 27, 2018