"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Thirty five of the most important words ever written.
This is the American Revolution.
Not Bunker Hill, or Valley Forge, or Yorktown, or the ride of Paul Revere. Not George Washington or Thomas Jefferson or John Adams. Not Minutemen or tea parties or fireworks or any of the other things we think of when we think of July 4, 1776.
Universal equality is the shot heard round the world.
What the Founders of our nation said to the world was something every man born on this earth already knows deep inside -- that he (or she) is as good as anyone else. Since the beginning of the world, mankind had segregated itself into classes and castes, arbitrarily privileging some and denying most.
It was time to begin the world all over again.
Equality is sometimes a difficult concept to grasp. It doesn't mean that you're as big or strong or smart or attractive as anyone else. It doesn't mean that you are born into the same conditions as others. It doesn't mean that the portions of life's bounty will be distributed to you and everyone else with equity and fairness.
The truth is, the principle of the equality of man is defined by Jefferson in these thirty-five words.
You have an equal right to live upon this globe. Your life is your own, to do with as you wish --to become as great or menial as you have the capacity and the will to achieve.
You have an equal right to live free of the subjugation of another -- to move, to think, to act and to speak independently of the influence or coercion of others.
You have an equal right to pursue those things that bring joy to your life.
And never forget, though it remains unwritten, with unalienable rights, come unalienable responsibilities.
The price of equality, like that of liberty, is eternal vigilance.
My equality is dependent upon your equality. The best way to ensure the safety of my unalienable rights, is for me to see that your unalienable rights are not infringed upon.
Happy Independence Day!