Hoping one day we recover our senses

Published 7:28 pm Wednesday, June 27, 2018

I know this is a bit early, but when this column appears next week, July 4, 2018, will be a memory, and any words I may have about the holiday will be lost in the passing fog.

Wednesday, we celebrate the birth of our country, which was signaled by the Declaration of Independence, which includes the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

At this time, I won’t go into the remainder of the document about government and the right of people to change it under certain circumstances for fear of being accused of anarchy. But that could be for another day.

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It bothers me that somehow throughout the ages we have at certain times forgotten those words that were written to announce our decision to thumb our nose at King George III and declare ourselves free of colonial rule. It hurts me even more to see people interpret incomplete passages of the Bible, like radical Muslims do with the Quran, to defend their decisions to enslave human beings, kill or injure someone, or in the more recent past, separate children from their parents.

Many people proclaim the United States as a “Christian nation,” but there have been too many instances where our leaders or individuals have acted in very un-Christian ways toward groups or individuals. It’s something that has to stop.

We as Americans have always prided ourselves on being a country where people are free to be able to speak our minds; to criticize our leaders and our government as a whole and free to express our points of view, and yet there are people and organizations — both liberal and conservative — who work very hard at preventing people from expressing their opinions, when they should be expressing open, rational discussion of issues for better understanding.

We have leaders who spend more time complaining about how they’re treated in the media, act like spoiled children when they don’t get their way and absolutely refuse to meet with the opposing side of an issue to reach a mutually beneficial conclusion.

I’m sorry if this sounds dreary or fatalistic, but I’ve been watching this country and the people for a long time before I became a reporter 39 years ago. I’ve seen a president assassinated and attempts made on two more. I’ve watched three wars — in Vietnam and two in Iraq — and the protests that went with each.

But I am optimistic. I believe somewhere along the way we’ll recover our senses, our elected officials will one day do what’s best for the people and not themselves, and people will remember those words of the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal and endowed with certain rights.

That’s something to think about and hope for.

John Surratt is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at john.surratt@vicksburgpost.com.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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