The Fourth of July should be more than a birthday celebration marked by fireworks. It’s a time to appreciate and honor the great democracy our forefathers created, including a profoundly wise system of Constitutional checks and balances.
Conflicting views of rights and responsibilities are unavoidable, but passionate disagreement and debate should strengthen rather than undermine our commitment to peacefully and respectfully resolving differences. It does not serve us well when our most cherished principles are being assaulted under the banner of what some people call a “cultural war.”
The process of refining our definition of liberty in a manner that balances personal freedoms against various perspectives of a good society is continuous and endless. Every decade has seen momentous conflicts involving civil and religious rights, including prohibition, polygamy, pornography, capital punishment, abortion, and homosexuality. In each case, court decisions pleased some and infuriated others.
I disagree with lots of majority decisions of the Supreme Court. Still, I think it unwise and essentially unpatriotic to attack the court system and vilify judges when we disagree with a judgment.
The issues that reach the Supreme Court are important. But I think it is vastly more important that we have and support a method of peacefully and thoughtfully resolving ideological rifts that threaten our ability to live together in respectful peace.
If we lose confidence in the wisdom or integrity of the judicial process and try to rig it so we’ll get the answers we want, we will all someday find ourselves on the other side of ideological tyranny.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.