Opinion: Freedom, liberty are an ever-evolving ideal

The approach of July 4th naturally brings forth concepts of liberty and the struggle to give it form via a new nation representing that Spirit of ‘76.

The precepts and history that gave birth to these United States of America are worth reflection this holiday week and beyond.

One point sometimes obscured by everyday life is that strife and protest — and even upheaval at times — are sewn deeply into the fabric of American history. Discord goes dormant at times, but has always arisen again in some form or another. The WWII and Vietnam-era opinion pieces on this page today showcase that.

Realizing that pattern can put years like 2018 into a useful context. Disunity has rocked or threatened these 50 states multiple times before. We’ve gotten through it. That message should not be lost today in a divided America where the ties that bind are under considerable stress.

In 1968, a year rocked with assassinations, rebellion and riots, The Atlanta Constitution’s Ralph McGill, as he frequently did, helped put matters in perspective: “Today’s many social protests are a part of progress — if one is willing to see them as such.”

“All Americans know that many adjustments have been long overdue in fully establishing human rights and equal protection of laws. The balance is not yet complete.”

“Historians may well write that many of our protests of this and past years were a sign of progress toward the objective of the Declaration of 1776 — that a stronger and better America will emerge from them.”

The nobility of that quest should still drive us today.

Andre Jackson, for the Editorial Board.

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