MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As America prepares to commemorate another July Fourth holiday weekend, culminating with Independence Day on Monday, I believe it’s important to take stock of the meaning of this national holiday – past and present. And we must ask ourselves, where have we gone wrong in truly living up to the words contained in the Declaration that we are all created equal and we are endowed with certain unalienable rights – including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
Keep in mind that the Declaration of Independence at its core was a political document approved by the original 13 colonies establishing freedom from tyranny and oppression at the hands of Great Britain.
The holiday eventually morphed into a festive celebration with parades, fireworks, music, flag waving and patriotic speeches. Politics took a backseat to pure leisure – with cookouts, reunions and yes, a nip or two of alcohol.
But since 1776 – and particularly over the last few years – we have started to lose the meaning of equality, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Today it seems, we are guilty of tyranny and oppression from within. We have taken several steps backward in women’s rights and civil rights, and our governing institutions at the state and federal level – including the courts – are more concerned with safeguarding the interests of a few rather than justice for all.
I suggest we all think about that as we observe Independence Day 2022.