AND Remember The Context

June 30th, 2013

As we stop to celebrate Independence Day this week, I find myself reflecting on the whole concept of independence. Our country’s constitution articulates the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of freedom. AND in those words, a spirit of independence is grounded. Our lives become our own to design in this country, not so in many others. There is a broader context for this focus on independence that also warrants recognition. And that is our commitment to recognize that we live in the United States. Our individual liberties flourish only in the context of shared responsibilities to each other and our collective communities and nation. Civility matters. Inclusion matters. Compassion matters.

From the beginning of our nation, we have sent men and women to battle to defend these rights of liberty and collective identity on behalf of the rest of us.  And they have fought with honor, often returning to lives that are radically changed. The cost of our actions and laws on our citizens is not always evident when we first begin. Yet we have a legislative and judicial system designed to continuously evolve our infrastructure to support our ideals and preserve our values as a nation in a changing world.

We are free in this country to speak our truth, to dissent. And we do. We are free to move from one state to another when work or other reasons invite change. We build communities and neighborhoods to support our safety and recognize our interdependence on others in our daily lives. AND all of these shared activities provide the context for our individual pursuits and liberties.

As we celebrate the many freedoms in our lives that are supported by the place we have chosen to call home, may we also recognize the responsibilities we have towards each other and our country for the right to pursue these freedoms.

Happy Independence Day

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