Sunday, July 04, 2010

Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit Of Happiness

Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit Of Happiness

Happy Independence Day!

It was 234 years ago today that America's Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. The revolutionary document written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776 went through many drafts and indeed, historians now say he even changed it by altering one key word from "subjects" to "citizens."

But one thing that never changed what was that document was all about: three inalienable rights.



The pursuit of Happiness.

Although the Declaration of Independence came several years before the U.S. Constitution and its subsequent Bill of Rights, that cherished parchment paved the way for the freedoms contained in the First Amendment that every American should hold dear, yet too often takes for granted: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom to peaceably assemble.

Thanks to those freedoms and our inalienable rights, live theatre remains a vibrant force within our culture. With the dialogue it fosters, our society is rich. Where else, but America, would our founders enshrine the notion of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness?
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.
Every day, we must work hard to protect our freedoms.

Thankfully, the arts serve as a strong bulwark in our line of defense in protecting our freedoms. We may not always agree with the messages art conveys, but the inherent beauty within freedom of expression is that it can and often does challenge us. I shudder to think what our nation would be like if we were all required to think the same thing or only avail ourselves of government-approved press, literature, theatre, movies and television.

The arts do more than just entertain, they propel us further as a people.

Contributions from the arts and the dialogue they inspire over what it means to be an American make me extraordinarily proud to be one. I believe that the performing arts can and will continue to inspire, but only if we continue to steadfastly ensure it is allowed to do so freely.

Happy birthday, America!

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

In keeping with the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations that unfairly discriminate against bloggers, who are now required by law to disclose when they have received anything of value they might write about, please note that I have received nothing of value in exchange for this post.

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