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    Independence Day 2021

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | July 4th, 2021

    Independence Day 2021

    Yes, it is that time of the year, when I take out the Declaration of Independence and read the transcript.  How did it come about? Why was it written? What does it mean for me today? 

    Last year, I talked about the meaning of the Declaration of Independence and how it related to health. There was a favorable response that I thought it was worth repeating again one year later.

    The Declaration of Independence is considered the birth certificate of the United States. The document was written in 1776 to King George III in response to how Britain was treating the thirteen colonies at that time. The signers of the document listed their grievances and then declared that ‘…these united Colonies are, and  of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved…’ Their grievances could be summarized in one sentence – they were tired of being oppressed.

    In the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, they defined why one should not be oppressed –‘…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…’ What does this mean in 2021?

    All men are created equal – Each one of us is created by a sperm meeting an egg to be fertilized regardless of our sex, color, race, or ethnicity. It does not matter what makes us different, we were created the same way.

    Unalienable RightsThere are basic rights that should not be taken away or denied a human being. Although health care was not listed, I believe that health care is a basic right. Everyone deserves to have access to quality health care regardless of their ability to pay.

    Life – We have been given this one life to live. No one has the right to take that away. Health care disparity is real. Black lives matter. We cannot remain silent.

    Liberty – Although we have the freedom to do to what we want to do, I am reminded of my father’s saying – “one man’s freedom ends where another man’s begins”. Yes, we have the right to decide to exercise or not. We have the right to take our medication or not. We have the right to choose what we would like to eat. It is important that we are proactive in educating ourselves so that we can make informed decisions regarding our health. .

    Pursuit of happiness – We all have the right to be happy.  We have to strive not to make our happiness dependent on another person. We are ultimately responsible for our happiness.

    Happy Independence Day

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