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"E Pluribus Unum" was the motto proposed for the first Great Seal of the United States by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson in 1776. A latin phrase meaning" From Many One," the phrase offered a strong statement of the American determination to form a single nation from a collection of colonies/states.

Thirteen English Colonies in 1776 felt they were on a course (path) in human events calling for independence from a absentee ruler exhibiting more dictation of how the Colonies should pay homage. There was anguished, as some colonists wanted to stay, and others wanted a new path called liberty.

To be dependent is to be reliant, that includes paying whatever is asked, for hopeful forms of favor. The colonies declared independence of Great Britain, all the while knowing they were interdependent of each other, and each colony, in order to succeed. They shifted from dependence through independence to interdependence. The United States of America was an association of affinity groups, that from the start, had difficulty forming a self-governing reality.

In 2020 we are, as we we were in 1861, testing whether this union of states so conceived and dedicated can endure. Equality, justice, caring for others, taking care of our earthly resources and using diverse talents to form a more (almost) perfect Union is being tested by the current president of this 244 year-old Nation

Simply put he and others, are experimenting with devolution of We The People. Let's divide this house! How has this worked so far with pandemics, racial injustice, income inequality, scrap-heaping our plant, and dumbing-down decision-making?

Return with me to the American vision that was our original motto: "E Pluribus Unum: From Many One." I know a good slogan when I see one having worked with United Negro College Fund Institutions for 33 years: "A Mind IS a Terrible Thing to Waste."

(Herman Hodge Long was a college administrator and author of several studies pertaining to race relations. He served as president of his alma mater, Alabama’s Talladega College from May 2, 1912 to August 8, 1976. Long also served as president of the United Negro College Fund from 1970 to 1975. He adopted the tagline “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” one of the most famous and apropos mottos created for any institution.

The 1950 had the start of the Cold War and "... McCarthyism... is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term refers to U.S. senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) and has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting from the late 1940s through the 1950s..." In addition to that, the Civil Rights Movement, start of what became Feminism, and the peak of the impact of southern Dixiecrats who became Republicans after 1963 were afoot. Along with the Baby Boom came more emphasis on "family values."

The U.S. Congress in 1956, supplanted E pluribus unum, in use since the initial 1776 design of the Great Seal of the United States. The capitalized form "IN GOD WE TRUST" first appeared on the two-cent piece in 1864 and has appeared on paper currency since 1957. My childhood was in a segregated south and I was told not to relate to Negroes, Catholics, and Jews. The reality being I can only trust people with my exact look and beliefs. The why of which was never discussed. Never discussed meant there is nothing to discuss!

Our Buddhist believe is we are interconnected with all things and to say we are separate is an illusion. As Zen practitioners, we see inter-are in everything and thus believing if we are compassionate, kind, loving, and joyful, then we can help reduce the suffering in ourselves and others. Such family and Country values are great only when coupled with an abiding belief in each person's worth.

This anniversary of the American Experiment requires a collective renewal to make these truths self-evident...

"E Pluribus Unum"



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