“Our destiny relies on conscience. Red or blue what’s the difference?” — Cy Currin
It happened again and this time it happened on the fourth of July. Of course, for anyone doing the math, the fourth just happened to be another day on the calendar. In point of fact, there appears to be little rhyme or reason as to why some of these stick in our psyche while others just seem to fade into obscurity. Human life isn’t variable. Some lives cannot be worth than others. All loss of life is tragic and deserves our attention.
The jokes were rampant on social media. I get it. Gallows humor is all we really have at this point. So, the immediate jokes at Ted Cruz’s expense were plentiful. See, Cruz was the one that suggested that we needed only one door at our schools. If we could get more door control then we could eliminate these horrible events.
Obviously, there were no doors at Highland Park. It was a parade celebrating the holiday. So, immediately people starting calling for roof control and ladder control. Maybe if we removed all of the fire escapes then no one would be able to access the roof. Surely that would do the trick.
The mood for many Americans is a feeling of despair. The dictionary defines despair as the complete loss or absence of hope. Hope exists as long as there are people of character willing to address problems head on. Hope exists when people see an existential crisis and feel motivated to try to solve it. Our destiny clearly relies on conscience.
Maybe hope would exist if we collectively remembered what we were celebrating on the fourth. In one shining moment, a new nation gave the world notice that all people were created equal and that they were born with certain rights. It was the promise that was revolutionary. It is that promise that has kept us going even when we collectively fell short of those words.
Perhaps Mr. Jefferson knew something when he spoke of a pursuit of happiness. See, like freedom, happiness is often elusive. There is always the possibility that in our brokenness we may never be as happy as we are right now. We may not be as free as we right now. Recent events certainly indicate that those freedoms we often take for granted may not be there when we need them.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is a delicate balance. They weren’t just words on a page. They involve an intricate relationship where they cease to exist collectively when one is unduly threatened. If I’m dead then I’m not free in any political sense. I’m certainly not happy. If I’m frightened then I am not free. If we are forced to live in perpetual fear of those around us then is that a life worth living?