The Liberty Bell
March 10, 2021
Cold and rainy
Our original Liberty Bell arrived in Philadelphia from England in 1735, cracked on arrival. Although it has been re-cast, repaired and re-repaired, still the crack remains, a poignant symbol of the deep fissure in our society between those of white, European ancestry and those of African ancestry. There are very few bridges by which this chasm can be crossed. On one side there is a large percentage of Americans who are afraid of how African Americans will vote if they have the chance, and on the other, the mass of African Americans who fear and distrust white people.
Most of us white folks will say, “But I am not a white supremacist! I love everybody!” Even if we believe we love everybody, do they love us? There is a black gentleman living in the apartment building next door. Occasionally I see him when he comes out in front to smoke. Yesterday, he was there when I went out the front door. “Hi there,” I said. “Are you out for a smoke?” “Yes,” and he quickly moved two buildings away. End of conversation.
Half a block down the street there is a black family with young children living in a two-story building with a large parking area in front where the children can play. They may be running around, playing near the sidewalk, but when I pass by, they run back close to the building. Maybe they don’t want to use the whole space anymore, but maybe someone told them to stay away from white people.
Our Declaration of Independence says that every man (women excluded) is entitled to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, which has often been interpreted to mean, “Every white man is entitled to live his life as he chooses to achieve wealth for himself and his family.”
I like the French Declaration better: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité! Liberty, Equality, Fraternity! How can we have equality if we don’t have brotherhood, and how can we have brotherhood if we are afraid of each other? Neither equality nor fraternity are in our Declaration of Independence.
Perhaps a new Declaration of Interdependence based on the French model is what we need.
Looking forward to Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity for all,
What I am reading: “Becoming” by Michelle Obama