… they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. — Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
I’m not a historian, but I am fascinated by the founding of our country and the grand experiment over the years. If I were a historian I might know what other “inalienable rights” our founding fathers thought we were endowed, but I don’t. What other inalienable rights do you think we are given?
Perhaps just as interesting is the fact that we have a right to “pursue happiness,” but happiness itself is not something our Creator endows. When I think about this, I’m reminded of one of my favorite film of all time The Big Chill and Chloe saying, “I haven’t met that many happy people in my life, how do they act?”
I also wonder if Chloe’s words strike home to many people. I worry that they do, and wonder why that is the case. Maybe it’s because those “unalienable rights” for us — life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and those nondelineated rights — are still denied to so many.
I know our founding fathers weren’t perfect, and when they declare that “all men are created equal” they didn’t really mean “all men” and left out all women entirely. But none of us are perfect, and they took a big risk to even begin the experiment. The question we must ask ourselves is, “what role do each of us have to play in furthering the ball down the field?” Because we all have “a dog in this hunt,” and to paraphrase Eugene Debs, “While one soul is imprisoned, we are not free.”
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