THE BLOG

Could We Celebrate the 4th of July Under the Old Rules of Our Founders?

07/04/2013 04:04 pm ET | Updated Sep 03, 2013

It seems incredible that early Americans celebrated the 4th of July (a celebration of independence) even though slavery was tolerated in some states until the Civil War. Millions of Americans openly supported slavery while millions more quietly used it to their advantage.

How could our nation celebrate the independence of some and the blatant exclusion of others? It seems there is less to celebrate and more to fear when the majority can vote away the rights of the minority. It was true then and unfortunately, it is true today when Republican controlled legislatures are given a green light by the Supreme Court to pass voter suppression laws.

The majority rule that sustained slavery for so long also suppressed workers rights, unions, women's voting rights, immigration and the Civil Rights Act. Now, a majority of the Supreme Court (all Republican) has gutted minority voters rights with impunity. The recent Supreme Court decision that gutted voter protection is a shocking reminder that regression of civil rights is always possible, even in the 21st century. Question... who will protect the minority from the majority of the Supreme Court?

It is amazing that today, a majority can pass laws against gay rights and a woman's right to plan her own family. We must guard against this type of majority rule.

On this 4th of July, we should celebrate our nation's ability to evolve past the founder's original documents. We should celebrate those who demanded and later achieved the same personal liberties and freedoms that the founding majority excluded for so many, for without these changes, our country would have long ago devolved into a system so terrible that the 4th of July would have become a day of mourning instead of celebration.