The beauty of Independence Day is our ability to remember how imaginative leaders sought to create something new in a turbulent world. The Founders did not get everything right in their first attempt, but they began the process of creating something that could be made more perfect. In their effort to create something better than what existed before, early leaders of our nation moved from the Declaration of Independence, to the Articles of Confederation, and eventually to the Constitution of the United States of America, which itself was only made stronger with the addition of the Bill of Rights.
As labor activists, there are lessons from the creation of our nation that we can apply to our activism. Each of the original 13 colonies had their own interests, desires, and pursuits. Those pursuits were not always aligned with one another. There were, however, places of agreement that were greater than those disputes. Additionally, the collective enmity each colony had toward Great Britain meant those colonies put their differences aside for the collective greater good.
That is the work we do as public employee labor activists. We recognize our differences, but we do not allow those differences to prevent solidarity. Labor activists are best equipped to move beyond disagreements in service of the greater good. That good includes our professional work in service to our state and local governments, as well as what we do for our fellow union members.
This Independence Day we should all reflect on the aims of the Founders. We can acknowledge their inadequacies and shortcomings, but we also recognize in the founding of our country the beauty of possibility–the possibility of greater liberty, justice, and equality for all. As union members and Americans this is the promise of the United States and we work daily to make that promise a reality for everyone.
Happy Independence Day!
Kenya Campbell, President