Unsurpassed in the history of humankind… a Declaration of Liberty, the symbol of which is the red, white and blue, Star Spangled Banner, the disrespect for and desecration of rends our hearts and scorches our souls.

When this was published our black Brothers and Sisters were bent in sweat in cotton fields, an enslaved race, subject to the caprice of their owners, a relationship of the utmost offensiveness: obscene, untenable and to be execrated.

Could there be a starker contrast between the ideals expressed in our founding document and the debasement perpetrated against members of our human family. There cannot be. Yet, it cannot be gainsaid that the promise contained therein and its execution, too slow and as yet incomplete, formed the foundation of a great nation, still striving for a more perfect union and continuing on a steady march toward yet more greatness, as on a Pilgrimage. That is the Holy Grail, then culmination of which our Declaration envisioned,  the promised land dreamt by King, but not only by King, and including our inspired founders. Why would we imagine our gratification would be instant? How could we not anticipate that the flaws in our nature would fiercely deny and hatefully impede the fulfillment of universal dignity, the birthright of every soul.? Why in this vale of tears would we suppose, where there are no easy things, this hardest thing would be achieved by consensus, with unanimity, without centuries of blood, sweat and tears. It is not  that we have tried and failed that is the ignominy of this celebratory occasion, rather it is our glory that we have tried at all, that we have fallen time and again but upon each fall,  we rise again to fight in perpetuity, if necessary.

That is the meaning of this blessed day, why we honor our flag, why we call her Old Glory, why we are steadfast in our pursuit of justice under her banner, and while we are wounded when she is debased by bitter misinterpretation we forbear because we are wrapped in the spirit she represents,

We continue at an impasse manifested by extremists at either end of the spectrum, racists and race baiters. Bitterness reigns and compassion is ostracized. On this day a truce fire ought to be willingly imposed, like the cessation of hostilities on Christmas Eve in the trenches at the front in no man’s land when German and  American  soldiers crossed the barren divide to exchange greetings. Is this not the very least we can do?

The Fourth of July is an occasion to celebrate our common cause in every man’s land and to take inventory of an inheritance we recognize as blighted but, nevertheless, as enlightened, to see ourselves guided by the light of promises made, not enveloped in the shroud of promises broken. Let us reconsider, let us beat our swords of grievance into plows of understanding empathy, each walking in the shoes of the other. Let us cease hostilities and let us pledge allegiance to our flag and the Republic for which it stands. God bless our flag and may God Bless America.

Skip to content