Life,Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness

This year as I celebrated the 4th of July with parades and fireworks, many thoughts run through my head. Firstly what is Independence Day and what does it symbolize? It obviously meant something different to our founding fathers than it does to us today. They just wanted a land that they could call their own, a place of racial, religious and the freedom to live however you want to. If you think about it even today we want the same. We have this beautiful country that we call home, but are we really living freely and independently?

While reading the newspaper daily, I come across articles on racism, police brutality, politics and many other things. The one thing that stands out to me again and again is the way race and religion has molded our world. We fight wars based on religion and race. People randomly kill others because they look different and have different beliefs. So how many hate groups are there in America?

There were 784 active hate groups in the United States in 2014. Is this really the kind of America that we fought for? “Hate Groups” basically mean people that live and thrive inside our own communities and neighborhoods who openly and simply “just hate a certain group of people”. According to the FBI's data for 2013, the highest numbers of hate crimes happen because of a person’s race or ethnicity. We have an African American president yet African American’s are the most targeted group for hate crimes. . I ask you again- is this the America our founding fathers fought for?

Religious intolerance has become a daily normal over the country. A person with a heart full of hate can walk into a church and just shoot people studying the words of God. A young Muslim couple is killed in Chapel Hills in the name by a racist man who used “parking issues” as his motive for killing. . I ask you again- is this the America our founding fathers fought for?

Police brutality has become so common, almost every few days we hear about how some policemen are abusing their powers. I am not bashing the police department; obviously they do a lot of good work and a few bad ones ruin the reputation for everyone. I was a bit shocked when a friend’s 9 year old child said “Mom, are the police good guys or bad guys? On the news they always show them to be beating up people but sometimes they catch bad guys too.” Is this what our country is about?

We hear about so many young people that are tortured and bullied because of their sexual orientation, and sadly so many of them go on to committing suicide. It is awful that instead of dreaming of their future and hoping for life happiness, they would rather take away their life or just hide away. Yes the supreme court’s decision was a great step in encouraging same- sex marriages, but it still doesn’t help these teens that are dealing with coming out. Some friends and myself were called names and yelled at for supporting same- sex marriage decision by the Supreme Court. This proves to me that as a country we have a long way to go to until the majority of people are accepting of the LGBT community.

No this isn’t the country that we deserve. Were the millions of lives sacrificed for the freedom of this country worth it, if we are still killing each other over race and religion ?In a country where our children feel like the protectors of our society are hurting people more than saving them. In a country where young people commit suicide rather than admit their sexual orientation to the world.

I ask you again is this Thomas Jefferson meant when he talked about “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness?”

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