Diversity and the Declaration of Independence

For reasons that vary, NPR’s annual tradition of reading aloud the Declaration of Independence seemed to carry more impact today than the rote recitation of recent years.

Each journalist takes a section in the annual production, which is enhanced, I think, if you quickly browse the accompanying website, which has pictures of all the radio folks doing the reading.

It’s rather breathtaking, not unlike the impact of downtown St. Paul’s skyway art installation, “Home.”

Our diversity is a national strength dressed up as a weakness these days.

“Sometimes this nation takes a step forward just when it seems to be stepping back,” Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep said.

Some Americans joined the fight for freedom to preserve their freedom to own other people, he said, citing recent scholarly research.

Sometimes this country gets things right by getting it wrong, which requires a frightening amount of luck.

“If only they knew where their words would lead,” host Rachel Martin said of the people who drafted the document.

Last year, NPR tweeted the Declaration of Independence, causing a tremendous pushback for its treasonous tweets.

  • AmiSchwab

    americans have become dumb.

  • AL287

    It is indeed true that the British MP, William Wilberforce was making a steady effort in Parliament to abolish the slave trade starting in 1787 with his election to parliament and finally succeeded in doing so in 1807 with The Slave Trade Act.

    However, the actual abolition of slavery in Britain and the British Empire wasn’t passed until 1833 with the Slavery Abolition Act.

    There is also a paragraph that was deleted from the Declaration opposed to slavery. The main reason it was not included was the Southern colonies were opposed to its inclusion and refused to vote in favor of independence if it was included.

    Watch the movie, Amazing Grace with Ioan Gruffrrud as William Wilberforce and Benedict Cumberbatch as William Pitt, the Younger. It is a tribute to the power of persistence and personal will.

  • MrE85

    I’m looking forward to volunteering at those naturalization ceremonies again.

  • Mike Worcester

    I enjoyed my morning Earl Grey listening to it; a great way to start the day.

  • RBHolb

    I read the Declaration of Independence every 4th of July. As a follow-up, I read Frederick Douglass’s rebuttal speech, “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?”

  • Jack Ungerleider

    The founding documents of this nation are exercises in compromise. Until we learn to do that again we will be stuck with governments that accomplish little at all and nothing of true substance. One can only hope that the newest Americans will help us remember how we got here and help lead us back to the 18th century’s love of rational discourse, reasoned argument and productive compromise.