Editor, The Beacon:
To Mr. Al Everson, I do not intend to challenge the intent of your opinion piece “Will this July 4 be our last?” in The Beacon last week, but I do disagree with the apparent full embrace of the Declaration of Independence reflected there.
As an article about “Uncelebrating the Fourth of July,” published by www.oneworldhouse.net, suggests, the Declaration of Independence does not reach the moral expectations of many Americans in 2021.
I have had a very nice life in the United States of America. I have benefited from the freedoms made possible by the sacrifices and service of military members, for which I am most grateful.
I have also benefited from the wealth in resources and institutions of this country, some made possible from the exploitation of enslaved people and from the conquest of tribal territories and nations.
I regret that our bounty resulted in part from these realities.
Rome grew from its size in 200 BCE to become the Roman Empire of 27 BCE in part through exploitation of slaves and conquest of tribal territories and nations.
The United States of 1780 grew to the size we are now in part through exploitation of enslaved people and conquest of tribal territories and nations.
In answer to your question of whether or not I would sign the Declaration of Independence — I have qualifications. Of course, I cannot know if I would have signed it were I around in 1776. From the perspective and hindsight of 2021, however, I would request revisions.
Certainly, I would want it to state that all people are created equal. I would not want an implicit statement that the nation should expand by conquest.
I did read the Declaration of Independence, including the authors’ resentment of the king’s declination to “encourage their Migrations hither.”
We now divide as a society on the matter of immigration.
I am happy that the Declaration of Independence states that governments derive “their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed” rather than by divine authority.
Finally, I could not help but notice the somewhat contradictory statements in your article that “the Eternal Who controls … national destinies” and Lincoln’s remark that “we must ourselves be its author and finisher.”