Our country was founded on a simple but profound principle: That free people will build a new world, a better world. There was no way that the Founding Fathers could have known what we would build, but they had faith that free people would make it better.
King James I of England was all about preserving the existing social order. The Pilgrims were about a new world. What America needs today is to stop believing that a racially segregated United States, the existing social order, is the way the world always should be. What America needs today is renewed faith in the universal truth: free people will build a better world.
The Founding Fathers understood, and we sometimes forget, that free people build a new world perpetually. Freedom begets change. The new world of 1620 spawned a new country by 1790, a world that in turn gave way to the new world of 1840, then 1890 and 1950 and 2020. Freedom did that. America always is changing; what America requires of us is the courage to embrace the change.
The world Americans perpetually create isn’t new just technologically. It isn’t simply that the cotton gin led to the steam engine led to railroads and then to airplanes and now satellites and cell phones. We create a perpetually new social order, as well, and each new social order is as dramatically revolutionary as each change in technology and standard of living.
Freedom led us from government by the landed gentry to government by virtually all adults who choose to vote. Freedom welcomed generations of immigrants. Freedom led us to economic freedom for the masses. Freedom led to the growing liberation of women, a monumental social change for humankind. We are working to bring true freedom to the LGBTQIA+ population. And white people seem to be on the cusp of allowing Black people to be free.
Freedom begets more freedom, if only we will let it. We need not fear freedom for women, for Blacks, for gays, for immigrants. We never need fear freedom. The prospect of freedom shouldn’t make us angry.
The new social order we are creating is the true vision of the Founding Fathers – a world where everyone is free.
Freedom has served us well. Freedom is about change, and America needs the courage to change again, to spread freedom to all of its people. Freedom always has made us better, and we will be better still when everyone is free.