America: Cause for optimism

by David Morgan, Lawrence County Executive

Do you feel like celebrating the Fourth of July?

To hear some tell it, America’s 247th birthday is no cause for celebration. The United States is in a mess. Our best days are behind us; things are bad and getting worse.

I believe we’ve listened to those people enough.

The Declaration of Independence was drafted, signed, and adopted by men with a great optimism about a new kind of nation. Free from the bonds of Great Britain, its citizens could enjoy rights “endowed by their Creator . . . Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

From the desk of the County Executive, David A. Morgan

The document didn’t say how freedom would be achieved. It didn’t offer strategies for battle against what was then the strongest nation on Earth. The Revolutionary War lasted seven long years after the Declaration of Independence was ratified, ending September 3, 1783. The Constitution, which spelled out how the states would operate as a whole, was four more years in the making.

Those eleven years of war and uncertainty were surely hard on the men who signed the Declaration, but they maintained faith in their vision. The new country they dreamed of is still standing after wars within and without, a Depression, man-made and natural disasters, corruption from the lowest to highest levels, extreme social changes, and yes, widespread pessimism.

The blueprint of America has stood the test of time. We should keep that in mind when the talking heads on television tell us how terrible we are, how close we are to collapse. They don’t like to tell us about all the good in America, about the opportunities available to all of us. Heck, that might make us turn off the TV and go outside to see the sky isn’t falling, after all.

I hope we can all catch some of the great optimism about America that inspired our founding fathers. Our country was designed to honor the divine spark in each of us, and our potential for achievement given the freedom to pursue it. I hope you will celebrate the Fourth of July safely and find inspiration in the promise our country still holds.

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