Happy Independence Day! Today is a day to celebrate freedom from oppression and freedom to believe as our consciences dictate. The signing of the Declaration of Independence was a hallmark moment and a precursor for the development of the democracy that Americans hold sacred. Our country is in a painful place today, and our community connections and our international relationships have sustained damage that at times feels irreversible. We are watching horrific injustices unfold on our own soil and struggling to find the most effective use of the power afforded us in a democracy to make desperately needed changes. But the American spirit that I cherish, characterized by service, honor, diversity, and personal and religious freedoms is a fighting spirit, and there are too many warmhearted, intelligent, progressive, and generous souls here to warrant my ever giving up on our ability to do the right thing. I value the ideals upon which this country was founded, even in their imperfection. I value our history of offering asylum and freedom and opportunity to the marginalized and the suffering. Those ideals and these passionate, truth-seeking individuals will be the spark that TRULY makes America great again.