Remember Why We Started

Sometimes you get caught up in what you are doing, and you forget why. Those moments can happen over little issues like you were just “too busy.” The other day I was trying to cross things off my to-do list and I went down into the basement; when I got there, I thought, “why did I come down here?” There are other times when this happens because of something much more significant. We seem to be experiencing that right now as a nation. There are days when it seems clear that we have forgotten why the United States was created.

It will soon be Memorial Day, and we’ll remember the people who gave everything for a specific cause — our freedom. Soon after we’ll be celebrating Independence Day, the day we took a stand that we would not be silent and governed by another country. I had no way to avoid thinking about these events when I saw the news about Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen children and two teachers were killed, and just the other day during the weekly town hall meeting, I remarked about the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya, a refugee.

We started this country for a reason, we wanted religious freedom. We wanted to start a new way of collaborating, and a new way of being in community with each other. We wanted to be heard and to be considered important and valid in our beliefs. Over the years it would be hard to count the number of mistakes we have made trying to assert justice for all. It has also been difficult at times to be grateful for the changes we have made.

Life in general is, and will always be, a mixture of happy and sad, achievement and failure. Sometimes it takes a while to realize that the vision which was created by those who came before is still worth our effort, still worth the raising of voices, votes, and engagement. At times when things are the hardest, we will be called to pick ourselves up; support those who have suffered terrible losses; and stand for what needs to be done, and stand for the principles which are easy to say but hard to live. We hold these truths as self-evident: 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.

I am so sad for the family of Patrick Lyoya, and so sad for the families of those who died in Uvalde. I am so determined to live my life by the clear directions of our founders. As we hold those who sacrificed and gave of themselves long ago, and those who are experiencing loss now; let’s promise to remember their sacrifices and let’s take peaceful and determined steps to make that dream of justice for all come true.