A Candle of Hope

Published: July 4, 2023

By Jim Lichtman
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Yesterday’s Seattle Sun-Times perfectly captures the country’s zeitgeist.

Political cartoonist David Horsey has two families standing alongside each other at a beach celebration. With fireworks bursting in air, the couple on the left—one wearing a MAGA T-shirt, the other that reads, “Don’t Tread on Me” —announce, “I love America the way it used to be!

The couple on the right—sporting shirts, “Resist,” and “Black Lives Matter”—declare, “I love America the way it’s going to be.”

While the right proclaims its rights in standing against abortion and favoring guns, even assault-style weapons, the left proudly pushes gender and cultural identity.

Nonetheless, after the fireworks, hot dogs and beer, we’ll all return to our respective camps where me-ism replaces respect and compromise.

Today, the Founding Fathers are looking away in shame.

Yes, they were flawed. And yes, they attacked one another during the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. But they had one noble goal: the formation of a new government built on religious tolerance and freedom from oppression. They reasoned and compromised and took pride in the formation of a country that was a work in progress–towards a more perfect union–and it worked!

Today, the only pride taken by some is being loud and obnoxious at the expense of tolerance and responsibility.

How can we find peace . . . even the hope of a peaceful union when we are at each other’s throats?

The problems the country faces are daunting: homelessness, affordable health care, drug addiction, racism, illegal immigration, terrorism, climate change.

But they pale in comparison to the current rage of hate, and extremism.

In its 2022 examination of hate and extremism, the Southern Poverty Law Center writes, “In the wake of the January 6 insurrection, both the justice system and big tech companies have had to re-evaluate their roles in helping curtail the growing threat posed by anti-government militia groups and their ardent supporters.”

How can we ever hope to overcome our problems if we can’t reconcile the divisions that threaten to bring us to another precipice of violence?

On this July 4th, I offer a prayer that we can enjoy a moment of unity that will light a candle of hope for just one day . . .  then the next day, and the next.

“A candle loses nothing when it lights another candle,” Jefferson said.

Today, let’s share a candle of hope.


  1. Yes, we each can light one candle of action for a fellow American today!

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