Monday, July 04, 2005

A More Perfect Union or Perfect Society?

Today is the 4th of July. I our town we have a "Festival of Balloons" Parade, which is an event that involves a whole lot more people; kids, seniors, parents, and whoever wanders into the parade route than actual balloons. The photo to the right is of a two-story tall inflatable Lady Liberty, who wobbled down the parade route today, being towed by a guy riding an ATV. It was great. My wife and I sat with our dog and watched everything go by - in South Pasadena the joke is that about half of the town is actually in the parade, and the other half cheers them as they go by. It is small town Americana at its best, in the midst of a huge metropolis. What a gift each day here is.

Today, we celebrate the Declaration of Independence, as our nation is 229 years old. Ronald Reagan once said, "You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done."

It took our little nation more than a decade to get from the Declaration to the Constitution; written in the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia. The first line of the US Constitution reads:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

We have come a long way since that hot, sticky summer on the cobblestone streets of Philadelphia. This stuck me as I read this wonderful, haunting article by Angela Beise, who is a missionary in France. Indeed, we must be very careful with our freedoms and with the technologies we are unleashing on the world.

I have a friend named Molly. She is turning 8 years old this month. She lives with a wonderfully loving family near us, dear friends we have know for more than 20 years. Molly loves life, and never seems to hold still for a moment. She is always the center of attention, and she loves to make people laugh. Molly has Down Syndrome. I hate to think what all of our lives would be like without Molly; of how much less color we would see.

Sometimes I wonder, are we really still working to "preserve this last best hope of man on earth"?

Happy 4th of July!
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