These past few months have been fraught with distressing events. Yet, there are hopeful signs to encourage us. The answer is not to disparage our history, but to study it to ensure repetition does not occur. Having been born in the South, I am sensitive to issues arising from the institution of slavery. Being part Native American (Iroquois Nation), I am sensitive to issues of equality, fairness, justice. As noted best-selling author, Ron Chernow relates in his page-turner biography of Founding Father and first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, an avid abolitionist, there would be no United States of America today had the issue of slavery been allowed to remain on the table. Why is this? Sadly, the Southern states desperately clung to slavery because their plantation economy was utterly dependent on it. These Southern states refused to even consider a constitution if Hamilton and others continued to insist on eradicating slavery. The issue became a non-starter, no-discussion element that was the linchpin to ensure the necessary number of states (nine) would ratify the hot-off-the-press Constitution of the United States of America. Despite our cherished constitution and its Bill of Rights having thus far succeeded, the issues stubbornly remain to permeate life today.
Slavery persisted to the point of civil war, and ill feelings persist to this day. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of us could celebrate the bright future of opportunity for all our people? Can’t we all strive to express appreciation for the incalculable sacrifices our Founding Fathers, French and Indian Wars, Revolutionary War, and following war heroes, generously gave to ensure a good life for future generations?
To foster a culture of gratitude is required if we are to garner success for all of us together as a whole nation working for the same goal: “Liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for “We the People”. Their historical sacrifices brought us this great gift. Destruction and violence cannot bring peace or justice. Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr. was right: love is the answer, and there is nothing trite about that. That is a goal worth achieving.