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America’s Greatness, An Evolution


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

As an elementary school child, I was taught about the Declaration of Independence. I believed it all to be true, confident that it applied to me and my family. I was told that the word men, in that context, referred to people as a whole. It was not until later that I learned about the flaws in America’s greatness.

The founding fathers meant it when they said men. Black men were defined as property, and Native Americans were considered savages, so these groups were exempt from the rights of men. In the Anglo-based suburb in which I grew up, Italians Americans were considered less-than. There was a hierarchy even among Euro-based Whites.

The founders were not thinking of the rights of women either. Subsequently, constitutional amendments, as well as federal and state laws have been passed addressing our country’s inequities. It was years later, in my lifetime, that the inclusivity of women and people of color made significant progress: the continuing evolution of America’s greatness.

In today’s America, we are bombarded with meaningless soundbites carefully worded and targeted with the undercurrent to inspire separation, division, and fear. MAGA and Woke are at the top of the list. America has always been great, but it has never been perfect. The Constitution endeavored “to form a more perfect union.” Our country is in the constant state of creation and evolution. The “again” is a cheap tactic to instill fear and divisiveness. What era does this “again” refer to?

America was built on family values. But what historic values made it acceptable to separate families through the sale of children and spouses of slave families. What values made it ok to separate Native American families along the Trail of Tears. In addition, domestic violence against women existed for years in middleclass homes but was not recognized until the mid -1980s as also a middleclass phenomenon.

There is, however, value in looking back. Acknowledging pride in America’s accomplishments. Understanding where we fell short. Identifying that which yet needs to be done.

The misuse of the term Woke is another deliberate strategy to instill fear and divisiveness. Recent use of the term started in the Black community as an expression of enlightenment to the truth of our place in history. But it has been weaponized to imply that Blacks are attempting to erase and subvert American history and culture.

Humanity is at a crossroads. There are those who are spewing hatred of anyone different from themselves, in the name of Christianity. My Christian upbringing focused on the commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” I’ve been thumbing through the New Testament, but nowhere in the teachings of Jesus did I find support of hatred and actions originating from hatred.

The Constitution promises separation of church and state, yet religious-based laws are being imposed on our citizenry. Women are being victimized by the Eve-syndrome. Eve was the temptress, causing Adam to fall into sin. To this day, women carry the burden of pregnancy outside of marriage, yet no laws demand moral or financial responsibility on the part of the single father.

In her founding, America’s idea of democracy was truly a concept of greatness. As we embark on our Fourth of July celebrations, let us reflect on our time-honored values of honesty, integrity, compassion, kindness, equality, hard work, justice, liberty, domestic tranquility, promoting the general welfare, and the pursuit of happiness, as we strive to make those self-evident truths a reality.

written by Amy Bryant, Safety Harbor Resident Blogger
Author of “You Can Go Home Again


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