Dear Editor:

In response to the June 29 letter "The storm of the 'Evil Left' is among us: The Fourth of July is a perfect time to reflect on what we celebrate. On this day we remember the document that declared the basis for our independence, a document that makes a statement of unique philosophy: that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.

America is the only country in the world whose Founding Fathers started from scratch and made this radical premise the foundation of the new government: that people are equal under the law and have equal rights to life, liberty and happiness.

We’re not there yet. But if there is one thing that America stands for it is the vision of human equality. Patriotism is not defined by political party, fireworks, flags or monuments. It is defined by the extent to which we hope for, fight for and defend the rights of all people to be treated fairly and justly. It is the most important value, from which all policies and laws should derive.

Significantly, the principle of equality is mirrored in the compassion and dignity of human life taught by the great religions of the world: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It is self-evident that equality applies to everyone, not just the people of lower North America. But our unique heritage challenges us to lead the world to rise above provincialism and prejudice and recognize humanity as one species riding together on one frail planet.

This is what I stand for and what I hope for.

Gail Harris

Andy Harris Road

Rockford

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