I learned those words in elementary school.
Standing next to my desk.
Facing the flag.
Hand over my heart.
As I have grown older I have come to recognize how challenging and how revolutionary those words really are.
In this together.
Responsible to and for each other.
Whether I like you or not.
Whether I agree with you or not.
Whether I look like you or not.
Whatever name we use for that which we know and name as God.
Whatever higher power we imagine.
A vision of humanity and world larger than my own.
Larger than our own.
Bigger than you.
Bigger than me.
Bigger than us.
Whether we like it or not.
Your life wrapped up in mine and mine in yours.
Do we believe it?
With liberty and justice
Maybe we have always fallen short with all of these words I learned as a child.
But, we have certainly fallen short here.
With liberty and justice for all.
We easily claim liberty for ourselves, but forget the awesome responsibility of liberty.
We easily claim justice for ourselves, but ignore the call and cost of justice for others.
And, then we get to this.
The differently abled.
The native Americans.
The Daughters of the American Revolution.
The immigrant down the street.
The black kid.
The brown kid.
The white kid.
The Asian kid.
The Navajo kid.
And their parents and grandparents.
And their aunts and uncles and cousins and great-grandparents.
This is the American dream is it not.
And where we have continually fallen short.
On this Independence Day
We are, once again, left to decide
Whether all means all
And whether we are going to stretch for that dream.