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E Pluribus Unum

e pluribus unumAs I usually do, I’ve been meditating about our American holiday today, Independence Day, and would like to offer a few thoughts. Let’s start with an early motto of ours, E Pluribus Unum; Out of Many, One. The math of this motto arises from 13 previously very separate colonies, all of whom rebelled against their colonial parent and thereby became independent states, joined in rebellion but very separate still for all that. The war itself, and the necessities it imposed, however, called for a united front, a confederation of equal states joined together into a new nation, out of 13, 1.

Jumping in our trusty time machine we leap forward to today. We now enjoy a single nation comprised of some 50 equal states. Out of 50, 1. But, what about the independence that we’re celebrating? Who among us feels the thrill of rebelliousness against King George and his Redcoated Dragoons anymore? Not very many Americans today would make the cut into the generation of revolutionaries, I fear.

Mind that even then, the split was into roughly three thirds. One third were loyalists; one third rebels and one third in the middle – today they be called…independents…interesting, no?

Of course, now that we’re one nation, we call the rebels patriots or founding fathers. It’s cool what the combination of winning and a couple of centuries of time can do. If I start talking about who’d rebel today, against our current government I might be guilty of treason. How about that?

Last, there is a reverse direction we must look at. I can’t do the Latin properly, so I’ll just slaughter it and flip the words: E Unum Pluribus, out of one, many.

What? Yes, we celebrate the independence of our nation itself, the community that we are. But, what of our own personal independence? For such a condition to be real, we must be an individual, pulled out of the hive of the community, and exist unto and for ourselves, independently. I know how politically incorrect such thinking is. Yet I offer it rebelliously and with joy.

Parts are part of a greater whole. Wholes are comprised of multiple separate parts. On this day where we celebrate the whole, I celebrate the many parts also, and I pray for our personal independence so that we, individually, like our great nation, may have this holiday too, personally.

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