July 10, 2003
At the dawn of the Twenty-first Century it is fitting that America should awaken into adulthood. When this great nation was born, immediate concern for its survival dictated that the infant United States sever the cord that bound it to the old world and begin its own separate existence. Now, the child has grown taller than its parents. The current challenge is not independence, but rather preservation of the Family of Man. It has been established that there are no extant sub-species of homo sapiens. We are all African-Americans in these United States of America, regardless of our country of origin or the color of our skin. It is further just as likely that we share as much of our genetic code with a nomad in the Steppes of Mongolia as we might with our next-door neighbor in Des Moines. Accordingly, we must put aside our xenophobia, and our arrogance, to acknowledge and embrace all our brothers and sisters, wherever they may reside on this fragile planet. With these thoughts in mind (and with sincerest apologies to the Founding Fathers) Poor William offers the following:
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for the citizens of a great nation, and of the world, to reaffirm the principles that connect and bind them one to another, a simple regard for the dignity and worth of every human being and each sovereign state impels us to an exposition of our core beliefs. We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all humans are born into the presumption of equality before the law. That they are endowed with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty, privacy, and the pursuit of happiness. That with these birthrights come concomitant responsibilities. These responsibilities include: respect, compassion, and tolerance for the views and rights of all others. That in order to preserve these rights and enforce these responsibilities governments are instituted and international compacts are entered into, deriving their limited powers solely from the consent of the governed.
We therefore resolve and declare that we will respect and honor the religion, beliefs, customs and practices of all humankind. In suitable humility we further affirm that we will not, by force of arms, economic coercion, social intimidation, or any other means (other than simple persuasion and example) seek to impose our values, culture, or form of government on any other person or group of persons, nor shall we allow them to impose theirs upon us.
To these ends we solemnly pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our noblest efforts.
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