Our most recent July 4th celebration commemorating our independence from British rule made me ponder the Latin phrase, E Pluribus Unum. Adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782 to grace the great Seal of the United States, it translates as "Out of many, one." Also used on coins and paper money beginning in 1795, it became, in effect, our first national motto.
It is fitting to keep this phrase in mind as we go forward in our political process. Our Founding Fathers envisioned our greatness and strength to come from the many uniting, working together and coalescing peacefully into one body — a "power derives from the people" concept. The hard-fought battle to tear away from British control of the colonies meant discarding that monarchical, top-down concept of governance and pursuing a more personally fulfilling future that all of us could be invested in.
Today, it seems we are losing that precious gift. Individuals such as the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and Grover Norquist, along with corporate "individuals" embodied as Super PACs and organizations like the National Rifle Association are turning that hard-won concept on its head. If we allow a few of the wealthiest and strong-armed individuals in our country to "rule" us, dictate our future and how our Congress votes, we are no better off than we were in the early 1700s.
Pay homage to the greatness of the American tradition by remembering E Pluribus Unum in this political season. Make your voice heard.
Ann Augustine, BerlinCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times