Every 4th of July, it has become my tradition to run this excerpt from “The Omega Glory,” episode #52 of Star Trek. (I’m running it two days early for 2021 in case I don’t have time this weekend.) Written by series creator Gene Roddenberry (himself a WWII vet and LAPD officer), the episode takes Kirk, Spock, and McCoy to a planet revealed to have an almost too coincidental parallel history with Earth’s. It takes a Canadian-born actor playing an Iowan farm boy grown up to be a Federation hero to give us the dramatic interpretation of what should make America great. It’s not the Declaration of Independence, which we celebrate on the 4th. Kirk quotes the preamble to the Constitution.
“No words… have said this thing of importance in quite this way.” To my fellow Americans, honor this Independence Day and what it means, and to our global audience — well, we don’t always live up to these words, but some of us are trying. “They must apply to everyone, or they mean nothing. Do you understand?” I do, more than ever, in these times when we are being slapped in the face with the reality that we’re not applying them to everyone. I want these words to mean something. We must stand firm for truth, justice, and the American way — for what that really means, not the way we’ve been living it.