Friday, July 2, 2010

Interdependence Day

As we have discussed in earlier lessons, the Yummish Faith celebrates many holidays throughout the year, both spontaneous (i.e., I got a good parking spot today and celebrated the moment with a large full-fat latte and bagel with lox and extra cream cheese) and officially scheduled (see earlier discussions about Bonding Day and Thanksgiving). Today's lesson centers on the most important of the holidays on the summer calendar – Interdependence Day.

This Sunday, all over the United States, people will come together for parades, picnics, fireworks displays and more, celebrating family, community and commonwealth.  They'll commemorate the founding of our country -- the unification of diverse, isolated pockets of settlers into a single nation, bound together by a collection of progressive, high-minded ideals, rather than language, religion or accident of birth. As a People, we will take a day to honor a Nation unique in its history and its potential.

It is important to remember, however, that our nation wasn't magically brought into being by the penstrokes of high-heeled boys one random summer day. Instead, on July 4, 1776, a small group of educated, land-owning European men declared to the world, in the name of a “People” that could hardly be said to exist outside of a grand, if vague, concept, the intention to build a Nation founded in freedom, equality and justice for all. When those same “People” awoke on July 5, 1776, they were still the same diverse, isolated pockets of settlers. They were “Dutch,” “Englishmen,” “Swedes” and “Germans,” etc., and still saw themselves as such. There was still not an “American” among them. Nevertheless, the concept of the American had been born.

Though done in the name of  the “People,” the Founding Fathers chose not to define, thus limit, who exactly those people might be. The American experiment was too revolutionary, too untried, for even those amazingly prescient men to try to predict the ultimate outcome. Instead, it was an open invitation to all those who embraced the same values.

Like the Founding Fathers, the Yummish believe this sense of mutual reliance and interconnectedness should extend beyond such narrow ties as bloodlines and birthplace. As Jefferson wrote, “all Men” not “All Americans” are created equal, with certain unalienable rights, not bestowed by an act of country or king, but innate to our being. Among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. (read: YUM)

While the visions outlined in the Declaration of Independence would take bloody centuries to materialize, a bold promise was made that day. The Founding Fathers declared their commitment to the radical, humanist experiment they called the united (sic) States of America. In doing so, they drafted a document that both declared our Independence from the English monarchy and our Interdependence as a Nation.

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”    

On July 4, we as a People celebrate this commitment, to our Nation and to each other.

Today's Yummish Exercise:Celebrate Interdependence Day!

Next: Suggestions welcome.

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