Beyond the economics of material things or the politics of nations; it began with the idea of being important inside in one, and believing that everyone else had and deserved that same basic self-worth – and therefore certain inalienable rights.
Somewhere in the hypocrisy of existence this formative ideology of the American dream disappeared behind the veil of material consumption. Though it still forms the backbone of the American identity.
Or at least my American identity.
As long as I have identified as an American, a healthy debate has waged about the American Pledge of Allegiance and whether the words ‘under God’ support ‘one Nation.’ Opponents argue that God would desanctify the hallowed ground of secularism; it would contravene edicts that separate God and State. Insulted by this perspective, proponents of ‘one Nation, under God…’ claim excluding God violates their right of religious freedom; that secularism threatens their right of religious liberty provided by the First Amendment of the Constitution. The debate continues; different institutions say it differently.
Neither the various forms of the Pledge, nor the rationales matter nearly as much as the fact that a Nation of the People, for the People, by the People freely debates the meaning of God, God’s place in secular society, and its impact on nationhood and national identity – as provided by the same First Amendment’s right of free speech.
This ever-evolving mutability to constantly re-accommodate its formative ideology of valuing life and liberty gives its People the chance to be guided by its historic wisdom while shaping it for future generations. Quite poetically, the People give the People their right to build a more perfect Union – not of states, but of ideas.
Happy Independence Day!