Points of view vary when celebrating Independence Day
Independence Day should not be celebrated without recognizing that for much of our history as a nation, many of our fellow Americans have wondered what there was for them to celebrate.
During nearly a century after independence, millions of African-Americans remained enslaved, after all. Native Americans were slaughtered as if they were not even human beings. Even in the memories of some, Americans of Japanese ancestry were discriminated against.
Still today, many of our fellow citizens of the United States wonder whether “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” applies to them.
One of the keys to Americans as a nation — not just under a single government but, more important, of a collective mindset — is that we recognize our imperfections and work steadily toward correcting them. We try to become better people.
We have come a long way since 1776. Institutional discrimination has been virtually erased.
That does not mean everyone is treated equally at all times, however. Bigotry in the minds of too many of those around us remains a scourge on our nation.
It is not prevalent, however. We are getting better. But “better” can never be good enough. Created equal is not good enough.
We Americans simply must make it a reality that in our nation, all people — regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual identity — are treated equally. Anything less is an admission that our goal of creating a new kind of nation is incomplete.