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Bring on the Noise

Politics? Hey, just gimme the fireworks....

Two hundred, twenty-eight years ago this July, Americans from 13 British colonies gathered in Philadelphia to discuss the issues of the day. They came from all walks of life. Their politics ran the gamut of 18th century opinion. They shared only one thing in common -- a sense that their disagreement with Britain had reached the point where the breach could not be healed.

The diversity of the signers of the Declaration of Independence laid the basis for the plurality of our nation. That doesn't make them paragons. Their peccadilloes and political views would appall most of us, and the confederation they proposed left ample scope for improvement.

But as one of my old political science professors used to say, "You can't judge an idea by its source." We can still learn a lot from the delegates of that first continental conference.

In this raucous election year, the foremost lesson is this: our differences of opinion won't hurt us. The sound, the fury, the dissent inherent in the hurly-burly of public debate makes us stronger. Different perspectives illuminate the choices before us. We just need the tolerance to appreciate them.

As long as we cherish that tolerance, we will remain one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Happy Fourth of July!

Jean Marie Ward

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