With Liberty And Justice For All

It may sound unnecessary, or even silly, to say that I am proud to be an American. I may not always be proud of what Americans do, or even what some of them stand for—but I do think that the United States of America is one of the best places on this planet to live, to work and to call home.

Fourth of July, Washington, DC

The writers of our Constitution were an interesting group. They came to America to avoid religious persecution and to experience a way of life with greater civil liberties and freedom. They wrote a Constitution guaranteeing basic freedoms for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Of course, they may not originally have thought of you and me as having those rights. They were mostly middle-aged, white, European, heterosexual men. Somehow the Constitution allowed slavery and prohibited women from voting. It extolled freedom—but, initially, not for everyone.

But the Constitution also provided for change.

It provided an initial emphasis on personal freedom and civil rights—and it continues to provide the mechanism by which our country changes with the times and with what’s right for its people.

How wonderful to see the Supreme Court deciding to uphold the states’ rights to allow gay marriage! How perfect to extend federal benefits and rights to such marriages. How “just” that we allow for a “dissenting opinion.” How perfect that the debate over full rights for gay and lesbian citizens can continue in this land of the free and home of the brave!

Happy 4th of July, everyone.