“We the People of the United States…”
Those are the first seven words of the Constitution of the United States.
From its very birth the United States was a collective enterprise.
It was not an exercise that celebrated the individual. It was an affirmation that free people who shared ideals and dreams of a common future could work together for their realization.
The greatest triumphs in American history were not individual efforts. Whether in wars ranging from the American Revolution to World War II or in peaceful accomplishments like the Hoover Dam, the interstate highway system or putting the first men on the moon they were all ultimately the result of numerous Americans who subordinated their individuality to their being part of “we the people”.
On the other hand, throughout our history, those who would subvert the human miracle that is the United States have attempted to elevate their self-serving interests as individuals over the welfare of “we the people”. This pattern ranges from the early partisans of the Whiskey Rebellion to the robber barons who were tamed by Teddy Roosevelt.
This fundamental anti-Americanism has again reared its ugly head in our own time. It maintains that individual “freedom” should be enshrined over the welfare of all Americans. It seeks to label the collective efforts of Americans to continually strive for a better and more just society is some foreign transplant labeled socialism or communism.
The reality is that America invented the idea of “we the people” long before these ideologies ever emerged.
On this day of celebration of American independence these might be thoughts to dwell upon.