As we go into the holiday weekend, I hope we will all remember these words from the Declaration of Independence:
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.
Many Americans who claim to believe in “their Creator” want to deny LGBTQ+ Americans, and other marginalized groups, our unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and deny us the equality that Jefferson wrote was “self-evident.” Those same people claim there is some secret gay agenda, when in truth we just want life, liberty, and the ability to pursue our happiness. We want the right to live our lives without fear and without the tormenting hatred of others. We want the liberty to be liberated from our oppressors who claim we don’t have the same rights as everyone else. We want the ability to pursue our happiness and to love each other. We simply want what all Americans want. There is no “gay agenda,” but there is a human agenda.
Other tripartite mottos like “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” include “liberté, égalité, fraternité” (liberty, equality, fraternity) in France; “Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit” (unity, justice and liberty) in Germany and “peace, order, and good government” in Canada. It is also similar to a line in the Canadian Charter of Rights: “life, liberty, security of the person.”
The phrase can also be found in Chapter III, Article 13 of the 1947 Constitution of Japan, and in President Ho Chi Minh’s 1945 declaration of independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. An alternative phrase “life, liberty, and property,” is found in the Declaration of Colonial Rights, a resolution of the First Continental Congress. The Fifth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution declare that governments cannot deprive any person of “life, liberty, or property” without due process of law. Also, Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.”
The civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer told the National Women’s Political Caucus in Washington in 1971 that black and white women had to work together toward freedom for all. “Now, we’ve got to have some changes in this country,” she told the group. “And not only changes for the black man, and only changes for the black woman, but the changes we have to have in this country are going to be for liberation of all people–because nobody’s free until everybody’s free.” Shes 100 percent correct, “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
I hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing weekend.