Happy Birthday, USA!

The Artdog Quote of the Week: 

 I think there has never been a time when the great experiment of democracy in the United States has not been enduring a test of one kind or another, and this period in history is certainly no exception. 
 
We’re currently mired in an ideological struggle between ever-more-sharply-divided factions, each of which perceives the country to be in peril–but the perils they perceive are much different from each other, and the struggle threatens once again to tear us apart (or did we forget the Civil War?).
 
Wherever you stand on the threats and forces that work within and outside our nation to do us harm, I hope that on this anniversary of the United States of America you will (prayerfully, if that fits your spiritual practice) consider how to nurture the strengths inherent in our centuries-long affirmation of human rights and human dignity.
 

 We haven’t always gotten it right, in the USA. Lord knows, we aren’t perfect. But the idea endures, the hope persists. As long as we look for ways to make tomorrow better, we can  hope that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was right when he said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” 
 
It’s important to look back into our history for guidance, but we must remember that there never was a golden age when everything was perfect. We still have yet to form a union that couldn’t get any more perfect.
 
By all means, please enjoy the Fourth. Put on a parade. Break bread with friends, neighbors and family. Deck the porch with bunting, and tonight may you have fireworks, and have them abundantly.
 

But once you pick up the cares and duties of your world again, give a thought to the ideals expressed in the sonnet by Emma Lazarus on the base of the Statue of Liberty:
 

There’s a popular quote (from Pope Paul VI), “If you want peace, work for justice.” Like most slogans, it’s a little simplistic, but it conveys a truth we’d be wise to heed. 
 
In the days to come, please remember that “liberty and justice for ALL” part, from the traditional Pledge of Allegiance. If we all do that, we might just pass our current test without losing our nation’s soul.
 
IMAGES: Many thanks to Marketing Artfully for the image with the flags and the Peter Marshall quote; to the National Constitution Center for the photo of the title of the Bill of Rights; to All Posters for the photo of Grucci fireworks in the sky over the Statue of Liberty; and to Daily Inspiration for the graphic of the Emma Lazarus sonnet (please note this image is part of an interesting article about the poem that adorns the base of the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island).

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jansgephardt

Kansas City-based Jan S. Gephardt is a writer, artist, and teacher. She makes nationally-recognized paper sculpture and writes sf mystery novels about a sapient police dog.

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