July 4, 2012

E Pluribus Unum

"Out of many, one." That's the English translation of the Latin phrase "E Pluribus Unum," which was the unofficial motto of the United States of America from its founding until 1956. The motto appears on the Great Seal of the United States, and was stamped on U.S. coins beginning in 1786. (You can read more of this history at Wikipedia.)

Photo by www.FutureAtlas.com
Today, the time when many different people came together to form one nation seems hopelessly far in the past. Americans value individuality above togetherness, stubbornness above compromise. We're encouraged to retreat into our little individual castles and take care of our own problems by ourselves. We don't know our neighbors. We don't participate in our communities or our government.

Today, on the day we celebrate our nation's birthday, I invite you to imagine a different United States; the country of our past, and - hopefully - of our future. Imagine a country where people know their neighbors instead of fearing them. Imagine a town, a county, a state, where people are involved with their government and don't let themselves be hoodwinked by crooked politicians. 

Above all, imagine setting aside our differences - differences of opinion, race, class, geography, and heritage - and working together to ensure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans. Imagine setting aside our selfish individual desires and pledging to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. 

We are diverse. We are many, but we can still come together to show that we are one nation. It's not too late. E Pluribus Unum.

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