Thursday, August 21, 2008

American Values & The Pursuit of Happiness

I have joined People of Faith on the Barack Obama website and have been answering a weekly values question. This week's question is one that Reverend Warren asked both Obama and McCain, What is America’s Greatest Moral Failure? This is how I answered...
Norman Rockwell ~ The Golden Rule

Values Question #9
What is America’s Greatest Moral Failure?
Failure to live up to the ideals of
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Declaration of Independence, our nation’s founding and self-defining document states,” We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I believe our greatest moral failure is the many times we have failed to live up to our nation’s founding ideals of equality by respecting the rights of others to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Images from the past come to mind like Wounded Knee and the Cherokee Trail of Tears, the bloody slave ships, the slave auctions, Suffragettes ridiculed and beaten for seeking the vote or the labor riots like the Haymarket massacre. In the twentieth century Japanese Internment camps, Jim Crow laws and the blacklisting of McCarthyism haunt our national conscience.

Today respecting other people’s rights endowed by their Creator to life, liberty and happiness relates directly to issues of immigration, poverty, health care, privacy and educational opportunities. We are guaranteed in the declaration of independence not only our life and our liberty but also our right to pursue happiness. The pursuit of happiness reaches beyond the basics of food, shelter and basic health care. These are the basic requirements of life. For liberty we need to vigorously exercise our freedoms of speech, religion and the press and protect ourselves from undo government intervention in our personal lives. Excellent public education with equal opportunities, a fostering of the arts and greater leisure time for the workforce would, I believe greatly benefit the pursuit of happiness.

Peggy Sue McRae
Buddhists for Obama

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