“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .”
– Declaration of Independence
I’ve been privileged in my own life by having been born into a uniquely stable and loving family, including not only my parents but through a legacy going back for generations. I was close to all four of my grandparents and had the opportunity of knowing each of them fairly intimately. I still remember their voices, their personalities and senses of humor, how they moved about, deeds they did and things they said. I had a chance to see the types of men and women they were, to witness their character. And even though I did not know my great-grandparents I have heard enough family stories to get a glimpse into their character as well, and even a few things about their parents before them.
All-in-all I have been blessed by having been born into a great lineage of stable and loving ancestors, a fact that often gives me reason to pause and consider with great humility all I’ve been given, and I then realize that yes all men may be created equal, but not all are born under equal circumstances. I know this to be true because there are people I encounter almost every day who came into this world under much poorer conditions than I, whether they be financially poor, from an unloving or abusive family environment, or challenged in some way physically, mentally, or emotionally.
It is in experiencing such conditions of other human beings that I am reminded of my responsibility toward them, that what I have been given is not mine to keep, but rather to be steward over for the benefit of others. It is my responsibility to perpetuate the great legacy of my ancestors by providing that same stable and loving environment for my own children and grandchildren. And it is my responsibility to share what I have with those who are less fortunate, by doing whatever I am able to improve their circumstances in such a way that will provide the opportunity for a better future for them and their families. . . . All men, I believe, are created equal, but it is up to me who has been privileged with much to act responsibly in helping create equal circumstances for others. And if I do perhaps I am doing my part to make this great democracy continue to work.