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Living with Our Deepest Differences*

  • Alonzo L. McDonald

Extract

For two centuries the American dream has flourished on the revolutionary notion that a united people can actually live with and even thrive on its deepest differences.

We are a diverse lot. This is one of our great strengths as a nation. Even with time our individual distinctiveness does not wane. We relish, enrich and continue to celebrate our diversity — our multiple heritages, the cacophony and splendor of our earlier languages and customs, our myriad ethnic and racial differences. We are Everyman. Any citizen of this world can find here a common thread of identification linking himself or herself to our society.

To provide world leadership, to prosper, even to long exist as a coherent nation, we as a people must respect and preserve this notion of living with our deepest differences. It was at the heart of our forefathers' genius in conceiving and establishing this government of the people, by the people and for the people. Nowhere is this idea more critical or central to our national well-being than in the domain of religious liberty. It was for this reason that the Williamsburg Charter Foundation came into being as a core unit in the Bicentennial celebration of our U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

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Copyright

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*

These remarks were presented at the First Liberty Forum in Atlanta on December 6, 1988.

Footnotes

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* These remarks were presented at the First Liberty Forum in Atlanta on December 6, 1988.

** Chairman, Williamsburg Charter Foundation. Mr. McDonald is the Chairman and CEO of the Avenir Group, and served as Assistant to the President in the Carter White House.

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