GUEST COLUMN: The Freedom to Disagree

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, July 5, 2023

By Treasurer David McRae | Guest Columnist

The right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” has been hard-won, earned through the sweat and blood of revolutionary patriots, articulated by America’s Founding Fathers, and maintained by generations of men and women in uniform.

While these principles have remained a constant rallying cry for the American people, they have also evolved over the years to rightfully encompass Black Americans, women, and most recently, the unborn — and that’s a good thing.

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Of course, with freedom comes the liberty to disagree, and there is no denying that we are a country flooded by disagreements today. While it’s critical we keep these disputes respectful, constructive, and peaceful, I don’t think the debate in and of itself is a bad thing. After all, free democracies are messy. It’s perhaps why Winston Churchill once said: “Democracy is the worst form of government — except for all the others that have been tried.”

The fact of the matter is that the great American experiment, which began this week more than 240 years ago, continues to work and serve as a beacon of hope across the globe. Why? Because even during the harshest of disagreements, we can come together as Americans around the fact that we have been endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. Where my rights end and yours begin will be a constant discussion, but the fact that they exist can never truly be up for debate in this country.

Those uniting principles span across every political persuasion, ideology, background, race, age or gender. They are what makes us American.

For just one week, let us put the most divisive debates on pause to join with friends under a shower of fireworks and unite behind the promises of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness that we have as citizens of this nation. Spend time being thankful for the freedom to disagree that was bestowed on us by our Founding Fathers. And take a moment of silence to remember the sacrifices made by our troops so you and I can continue to declare our independence throughout the year.

Mississippi Treasurer David McRae is the 55th Treasurer for the State of Mississippi.