The Fourth of July brings with it thoughts of many things; from picnics to pyrotechnics, from Minute Men to military memorials, from flags to freedom, from revolution to rights.
This year, I began thinking about the vision that our Founding Fathers had for this new, independent, sovereign nation. Obviously, being governed without representation was one of the major issues that led to the political upheaval that was the American Revolution. Once the Constitution and Bill of Rights were ratified, they guaranteed many of the personal and civil liberties that were also a part of the justification of the revolution.
Would the patriots of those early days feel that their vision came to be if they were to look at American life today? They knew that with rights come responsibility, both to preserve the independence of our nation and the rights of our countrymen. And the responsibility was not the realm of the military and the government only, it belonged to us all.
“Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself,” noted Robert G. Ingersoll. So, beyond the service of those in the military, and those who are elected officials, what should be the role of the REST OF US in preserving such rights? Obviously we need stay informed, and to vote. But many of our fellow citizens do not have the means to stay informed, or the luxury of the time to do so, as they are searching for their next meal or shelter or job. For too many, illiteracy is still a block to their ability to exercise their rights or to pursue happiness through self-sufficiency.
For the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, in spite of all the help provided each grant cycle to the many nonprofits that are on the front lines of the war on poverty, illiteracy, disease, etc., there is never enough money to meet all the needs. To those of you who support our Touch Tomorrow program, which increases the grant dollars we are able to use for these growing concerns, we offer our sincere gratitude. And to those of you who do not yet support this program, but who are looking for a way to help, please consider offering your financial support to our work. Every dollar matters in supporting our fellow citizens. And every citizen matters in advancing the democratic way of life. And every day matters in assuring that those who struggle do not lose hope for a life of self-sufficiency and independence.
Denise K. Spencer