You cannot have freedom and liberty by taking those things away from someone else

by Dustin Woods
Visionary Columnist

Just about any other year, this could be a regular patriotism article, but this year it feels like we have gone through a century worth of events, and it is only July. 

A global pandemic, depression level unemployment, and systematic racism mixed with unhinged police acting as judge, jury and executioner have already marked the year. 

But it is Independence Day. That is what I would like you to think about right now. 

Our fore founders tried protesting their grievances peacefully with Parliament and the Crown, but to no avail.  When many in Boston were arguing for more aggressive means of redressing grievances, there were many colonists in the South that were less radical in their approach to solving the problem.

We know how the story ends, but I was hoping you could consider how our past has influenced us today and can guide us into solving the problems with which we remain.

What does it mean to you to be an American? Whatever one’s answer is, they are right and wrong at the same time. It is that cohabitation of contradiction, the blending of opposites, that is quintessentially American. We have a balance between the rule of the majority and the rights of the minority. We collectively decide a common ground of Americanism but don’t hold everyone else to the same standard as we let each determine their own standard for themselves.

It is the common ground that matters; the basic level of human decency where we uphold the inalienable rights endowed to us by our creator. It’s the line in the sand for right and wrong that we uphold for everyone that I see as being American. The way we achieve basic standards is through our national government setting standards with which all state governments must adhere.

Hell, there even was a time we tried to bring those principles to the world because they were so just and pure that all people deserved them. Principles like liberty, freedom, justice and democracy are all those which every person deserves.

The LGBT+ community has taken the American standard of uniting smaller entities into a larger one by rallying around a unifying principle; for us, it’s equality. We use the “alphabet soup” to our advantage for united we stand and divided we surely would have fallen. 

I love seeing how some communities like Los Angeles used their Pride celebrations, limited as they may have been due to COVID, to advance the cause of the Black Lives Matter movement. It added to the momentum we have working to end the systematic racism and unequal application of the justice system in America.

We have come a long way in this country, but we certainly have a long way to go to achieve the ideals upon which the United States of America was founded. We will not find our way to the end of that path by excluding anyone. You cannot have freedom and liberty by taking those things away from someone else. 

We shall be judged by how we treat the least among us. For those who believe, each of us will be judged by our creator.

What mark will your actions make upon this great American tapestry?

Copyright The Gayly. 7/4/2020 @ 8:08 a.m. CST.