What I Love About This Divided Country - A Personal Reflection
THE BIG THING I WANT YOU TO KNOW:
Many people say that we’ve never been more divided as a country, but that’s just not true. If you look back in history, you’ll find that we were just as divided one hundred or two hundred years ago. The beautiful thing about our country is that it was founded with the ability to change.
The Constitution allows us to move and expand as we grow, and while that doesn’t mean we are where we need to be, it gives us hope that we are on our way.
We’re coming off of Independence Day weekend and it got me thinking about something that I love to read around this time of year.
Sorry if you didn’t come here for a history lesson... But, this is a personal reflection from me and those who know me know that almost always involves American History. #HISTORYNERDALERT
your reading assignment this week comes from FREDERICK Douglass…
There’s an incredible essay by Frederick Douglass called “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” He spoke it back in 1852 before the Civil War, when slavery was still very real and present.
I noticed throughout the day on the Fourth of July that a couple of people from all sides of the political spectrum referenced this particular speech. But, they were pulling bits and pieces from it to fit their own political narrative.
We all do that too often with all things. We can take pieces of information or history and fit them into our argument to help make a point. Taken out of context, you could make any speech, essay, etc. say a number of things.
My old Greek professor used to always say, “A text out of context is a pretext for a proof text.”
Frederick Douglass’s speech will surprise you when you see it in fulL.
I hear so many people say that we, as a country, have never been more divided. That’s just not true!
If you read Douglass’s speech in its entirety, it may feel like deja vu because you’ll find that the country was just as divided back then as it is today.
And if you’re in our office for long you’ll hear at least a client or two reference the political and social division in our country.
Friends, we have gone through hell as a country, done unspeakable atrocities, and participated in terrible things, and yet there’s always been this movement towards change.
The amazing thing about the Constitution is that it lives above all the terrible things happening. There’s a redemptive movement in the Constitution that allows us to move and change FAR more than the people who wrote it could ever think of.
When I re-read “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” I’m reminded that change can take a long time, but the beauty is that there is change at all. And that doesn’t mean we’ve gotten to where we need to be, but it’s encouraging to read Douglass’s speech and see that we had massive divisions but we had the ability to move forward.
”…we had massive divisions but we had the ability to move forward.”
Even in the midst of divisions… let’s pursue change and remember that greater things are always possible.
YES, our country faces massive issues today, but this speech demonstrates that those issues are no more massive than the issues we faced back in the 1850s.
There is a lot going on in our country that can feel discouraging, and yet here we are.
We continue to pursue and strive for change, and isn’t that something worth celebrating?
Take a few minutes this week to read this speech — it is a picture of hope! And I expect a full report on my desk by Friday…jk.
Thanks for taking the time to read some of my thoughts in an inspirational monologue form. I truly hope you enjoyed your Independence Day and can use your voice to contribute to what makes the country so great.
If you could remove one federal law which would you choose?