It’s the Fourth of July here in the states and already there are well wishers and those who’ve forgotten fireworks are technically best seen after dusk. I will not sit here and pretend that I have mused over the original 13 colonies and bald eagles. I did listen to a piece on UpWorthy narrated by Morgan Freeman. I learned that Jefferson had originally written into the draft of the Declaration of Independence a line on the moral depravity and human injustice of slavery. It was, of course, deleted. However, I found it intriguing to learn Jefferson, a slave-owning man, understood the injustice being perpetrated against a fellow-man because of his superfluous melatonin.

This left me thinking for a bit about how often we overlook prejudice and stereotypes still. Are we really free? How could one call himself free when still bound by the small-mindedness of perpetuating prejudice and stereotypes against others and himself?  It seems impossible to believe we have come so far yet we still have so much further to go. An endless journey of sorts it would seem. We impose stereotypes through media, through clothing, and through economics. Yes, some of us even use skin color to decide someone’s worth or lack thereof.

I can recall times in the past three decades where America fell far short of its Declaration, worse yet I can recall when I have personally fallen short of the Declaration–Jefferson’s and my own. Perhaps I should elaborate here. I believe we all have a personal declaration. It is created by our thoughts, morals, ethics, feelings, and actions. It may not be penned across a scroll of parchment and signed by our own immediate founding fathers, but it is written across our mind, heart, spirit, and soul. Some days we master the intent of our declaration and others we simply don’t make rank.

I have been guilty of many things which enslaves not only others but myself in pain. No, I have not murdered anyone or anything near that caliber. What I mean is that I have said or not said, done or not done, and acted or not acted in ways that were untrue to my declaration and by no means upheld others’. I have many times allowed myself to fall victim to my tongue and thoughts and in doing so have damaged myself and others.

Somehow, I don’t think I have always allowed myself to be free. In that way where one is not concerned with the opinions of others but is simply happy and free being exactly who they are. And that is where I am at today. Rethinking my freedom and personal declaration. Evaluating what is truly important and allows me to be free of the shackles of others judgements, stereotypes, and prejudices. I want those around me to accept me for who I am and who I am not and I want to be free to give them the same in return. I want to honor justice and fairness just like our forefathers with mercy and forgiveness. Most importantly I want to continue to proofread and edit when necessary. Isn’t that what true independence is?

So today I  revisit declarations, those imposed upon me by birthplace and those I have written for myself. I will be off later to celebrate with fireworks the birth of this nation and the rebirth of my declaration. I will do my best to make sure that my actions align with how my personal declaration reads. I will carry the fanfare on after this day and I will keep an eraser in my pocket to make changes when needed.

Ha, No bald eagles here; the eraser will be my icon. What’s your’s?


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