The United States isn't a perfect country, but it's a good country, a country I love. What I most revere about the United States are the reformers and radicals who have fought to get this country to live up to its highest values. These reformers and radicals helped give this country a new understanding of what it means to be a country of freedom and equality.
So on this 4th of July I thank Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, George Washington, Thomas Paine and our Founding Fathers for giving us the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
I thank Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eugene Debs, W.E.B. DuBois, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Henry Thoreau, Emma Goldman, Booker T. Washington, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Dorothy Day, Norman Thomas, Bayard Rustin, William Sloane Coffin, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez, the Kennedy brothers, Harvey Milk, Dolores Huerta, Larry Kramer, Howard Zinn and other leaders of social movements that have helped women, minorities and the disenfranchised become more of a part of the American promise