Unity remains essential for our independence

E pluribus unum — this is why we’re celebrating the birth of the United States of America today, July 4, 2017.

Our national motto of “Out of many, one” tells the epic story in three Latin words of how a loose collection of all kinds of people coming from literally everywhere for all kinds of different reasons was able to declare independence from the reigning imperial superpower, pull off the greatest upset in world history to earn that independence and create a nation so united the word is part of its name.

The birth date of this country marked as July 4, 1776, is also unique. It’s not the date when the first battle of the American Revolution started on April 19, 1775. Nor is it when the British effectively surrendered on Oct. 19, 1781.

It was the date when representatives of the 13 colonies announced they had laid all they had on the line and signed a “declaration of independence.”

It was an act of treason, punishable by drawn-and-quartering, head-on-a-pike death once King George’s soldiers put a quick end to this ridiculous rebellion. The declaration was a ready-made death-warrant list signed by the traitors’ own hands.

After John Hancock and all the others put their John Hancocks to the document it was literally a win-or-die endeavor, all-in for independence. The only hope for their lives and independence, as Ben Franklin put it during the group’s deliberations, was unity.

“We must, indeed, all hang together,” he said, “or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”


Twelve-score-and-one years later, the unity that produced our independence and is still a necessity to maintain our individual and collective independence is still there, but the threads are fraying. The forces working against unity, such as lack of commitment to tolerating diversity, are internal rather than external from Great Britain back in 1776.

It is still a free country, so the power to unite still remains in the hands of the people. But for how long? Maybe that is the question to ponder today.

Independence exists when people unite under the principle of allowing others with differences than ourselves a place in society and embracing diversity in every way. Over and over again, our history shows that diversity has made this country great.

Disagreements and debates about particular issues and values have been around since our birth 241 years ago, but what’s concerning about the present is the intolerance of diversity throughout the political spectrum, which disrespects the sacrifice of those who have pledged and given “our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor” in earning and preserving independence.

A Daily Mining Gazette editorial