In Order to Form a More Perfect Union

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men 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.

These words begin the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, in which 237 years ago this day, the thirteen American colonies announced that they considered themselves states independent of Britain. This long experiment with democracy has had its ups and downs. The downs have always coincided with efforts to limit the rights of members of society. The ups have always coincided with the triumph of these rights over attempts to limit, stifle, or deny them.

As has been said, the United States is a great nation. Definitely not as great as we sometimes think we are, but still a great nation. Let us use this Independence Day as an opportunity to appreciate the many positive attributes of our democracy and to rededicate ourselves to the self-evident truth that all men are created equal and that we are only equal when our unalienable rights are available to all.

Happy Fourth of July!