Independence Day celebrates our nation’s identity. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress declared that the 13 colonies of the United States were no longer subordinate to King George III of Britain. We were now united, independent and free states. This union gave us the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, under the law.
To speak your mind publicly is a cornerstone of our freedom. But since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, freedom of speech has come under attack from extremist ideologues of all persuasions. And recently, it has also opened the door to alarming mendacity, where lies masquerade as truth.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for many of us to honor freedom of speech when public dialogue is replete with hate, discrimination, bigotry and lies. There is a great need for leaders in business, sports, medicine and government to speak up. But is it possible to show respect for those who disagree with us? A rant has no respect. It only creates polarization.
You can be the spark that ignites change when you speak up, speak freely, and do it without ridiculing those who disagree. It is time to restore comity to our nation and dignity around the world. Let freedom ring; loud, clear and true.